Notes: Jurries remains positive
Slugger ready to head to Richmond, try to earn his way back
ATLANTA -- When James Jurries left Turner Field on Friday night, there wasn't a single teammate, coach, administrator or media member who wasn't feeling sorry for him.
Nobody could fully understand the pain he had felt when he was told he wouldn't be on the Opening Day roster.
But after having the opportunity to evaluate the decision and be consoled by his parents, Jurries returned to the stadium, on Saturday morning, wearing a smile and declaring that he totally understood Braves manager Bobby Cox's decision to choose Brian Jordan for the final available roster spot.
"I took my night last night," Jurries said. "Today is a different day, and it's time to go to [Triple-A] Richmond and help that team win. I'm OK with it and hopefully I'll get my chance."
While hitting .429 with a .673 slugging percentage and .464 on-base percentage this spring, the 28-year-old Jurries showed he's certainly ready for his first opportunity to prove himself in the Majors. But until the chance comes, he'll have to continue his preparations, while playing first base at Richmond.
"My purpose was served," said Jurries, who was in his first big-league camp. "I made it tough on them to make that decision. I kind of did my job, and hopefully when it comes cutthroat time and they do need a guy, they can look back and say, 'This guy really hit for us, so let's give him a shot.'"
Cox wholeheartedly admits the decision to cut Jurries was a very tough one. But it was forced with the fact that Jordan proved that he was healthy and capable of playing first base.
Jordan, who celebrated his 39th birthday on Wednesday, showed that his surgically repaired left knee was healthy enough for him to play each of the outfield positions. In addition, his late February suggestion to start playing first base allowed him to add versatility to a resume that is highlighted by his impressive leadership skills.
"I think Brian Jordan is a great teammate," said Jurries of the veteran who hit .357 this spring. "He's a great player, and I could see why you'd want to keep him around."
When Jurries returned to his hotel room on Friday night, he found roommate Matt Diaz, who had just been told he'd be included on the Opening Day roster. According to Diaz, his close friend was very supportive and didn't spend the night simply sulking.
Some of Jurries' time was spent on the phone with his parents, who told them that they were very proud of the fact that he'd proved he deserves a shot in the Majors.
"Just for [my dad] to tell me, 'I'm really proud of you,' kind of got to me a little bit," Jurries said.
"He had a big smile on his face," pitching coach Roger McDowell said. "For me, that was the greatest indicator."
McBride will add changeups and breaking balls into the side sessions he completes later this week. If all goes well, there's a chance he might be ready to be activated from the disabled list during the regular season's second or third week.
When McBride is ready for activation, Cox will have to choose who he wants to keep in his bullpen. He'll start the season with Chuck James and Mike Remlinger serving as his left-handed relievers.
James, who didn't learn he'd made his first Opening Day roster until he arrived at the stadium on Saturday, has served as a starter throughout his career. But he's looking forward to the chance to aid the team as a reliever. While dominating three different Minor League levels last year, he limited left-handed batters to a .130 batting average.
"I definitely wasn't expecting this going into the spring," the 24-year-old James said. "Whether I pitch good or bad, I don't think it will be because of the transition."
As for the 40-year-old Remlinger, he's simply happy that he showed that his right shoulder is much stronger than it was last August, when the Red Sox released him. He tossed a scoreless inning on Saturday and allowed just one earned run in the final 8 2/3 innings he completed this spring.
More importantly, Remlinger has displayed a curveball that makes him much more effective against left-handed hitters. During his long career, he's limited right-handed hitters to a .230 batting average, while left-handers have batted .259 against him.
"My biggest goal was being healthy," Remlinger said. "I figured if I was healthy then there was a need for me. How I fit was their problem to figure out where that spot would be."
Health updates: The Braves will begin the season with McBride, John Foster, Kelly Johnson and Mike Hampton on the disabled list. Hampton will miss the year while rehabbing from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery and Foster, who will attempt to begin throwing again on Wednesday, is hoping to avoid that same surgical procedure.
Johnson's right elbow hasn't allowed him to throw for the past two weeks, and it might be another two weeks before he's even cleared to throw again.
Braves bits: The Braves traveled to Los Angeles after Saturday's game and will hold a workout at Dodger Stadium on Sunday afternoon. ... Oscar Villarreal had allowed just two hits and completed six scoreless innings before being hit hard on Saturday afternoon. He allowed the White Sox four earned runs and five hits in one inning. ... Making his final exhibition start against the White Sox, Jorge Sosa allowed five runs -- four earned -- and nine hits in five innings. The positive development was that he recorded six strikeouts.
Coming up: The Braves will open the regular season against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Monday afternoon at 4:10 ET. Tim Hudson will be making his fourth career Opening Day start, and he will face Los Angeles' Derek Lowe.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.