Jair Jurrjens had another terrible start at Triple-A

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Jair Jurrjens got rocked for 11 runs in a Triple-A start last week and turned in another ugly outing for Gwinnett yesterday, allowing seven runs on 11 hits in 4.1 innings.

Combined between the two starts he’s coughed up 18 runs on 23 hits in nine innings, yet the Braves continue to insist that Jurrjens is making progress and looking good.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that there’s “stuff that you guys don’t see on the line score” and “his velocity was up … I think they had him a couple of times at 93, which we hadn’t seen here.”

Jurrjens may indeed be throwing harder and harder, but Triple-A batters are hitting him harder and harder as well. Through five total starts there he has a 6.10 ERA and .313 opponents’ batting average, managing just 16 strikeouts in 31 innings.

Regardless of the velocity readings, the 2011 All-Star is a long way from being back in the majors.

Report: Mariners sign Juan Nicasio to a two-year deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Mariners have signed pitcher Juan Nicasio to a two-year contract, pending a physical.

Nicasio, 31, spent last season with the Pirates, Phillies, and Cardinals, putting up an aggregate 2.61 ERA with a 72/20 K/BB ratio in 72 1/3 innings. He appeared in 76 games, leading the National League.

Nicasio will help bolster the Mariners’ bullpen behind closer Edwin Diaz. It’s not known exactly what role he’ll have but it seems reasonable to assume he’ll handle mostly the seventh inning while Nick Vincent will set up for Diaz. Nicasio does have plenty of starting experience so he could also spot start in a pinch.