Jair Jurrjens to visit knee specialist this weekend

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MLB.com beat writer Mark Bowman suggested Thursday morning that Jair Jurrjens’ recent struggles might be attributed to lingering discomfort in the young starter’s troublesome right knee.

It turns out Bowman was right.

David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported about one hour ago that Jurrjens is scheduled to visit knee specialist Dr. Richard Steadman this weekend in Vail, Colorado.

The Braves are confident that Jurrjens does not have any structural damage in his right knee because an MRI taken Wednesday revealed only a bone bruise. Rather, they’re hoping that the visit will yield new treatment options. And maybe an assurance that the 25-year-old right-hander will be back to his old dominant self by the time the postseason arrives.

Jurrjens posted an ugly 6.17 ERA in four August starts and will likely have to be skipped on his next turn through the Braves’ starting rotation, but he was one of baseball’s best pitchers during the first half of this season and will try to get back in the groove before the beginning of October.

The Braves hold an eight-game lead over the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card standings.

Report: A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.