Last week all indications were that Jair Jurrjens’ knee problems would sideline him through at least the first round of the playoffs, but yesterday manager Fredi Gonzalez “left open the possibility” that he might be cleared to pitch in the NLDS. If the Braves make the playoffs, of course.
David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Jurrjens threw 44 pitches in an instructional league game Saturday and according to Gonzalez “he did OK.”
If healthy Jurrjens would certainly be in the Braves’ playoff rotation, but he hasn’t started a game since August 30 and posted a 5.88 ERA in the second half before being shut down with a bone bruise.
Gonzalez has said previously that he won’t start a pitcher in the playoffs unless they’re able to start a regular season game first, but O’Brien speculates that may no longer be the case because “desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures.”
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.