KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Jair Jurrjens was Atlanta’s most consistent pitcher last season, and the right-hander appears to be headed for similar success this year.
Jurrjens threw six scoreless innings to help the Braves beat the New York Mets 5-1 on Tuesday. He allowed four hits, struck out six and walked none.
"I don’t know if I’m all the way there yet, but I’m moving in that direction," said Jurrjens, who was 13-10 with a 3.68 ERA last season. "This is a good spring for me. Last year, I was just trying to impress people and win a spot. Now I’m working on specific things. And that’s good."
The Braves (13-3) have been impressive throughout the spring after limping through their worst season in years in 2008. They added Derek Lowe, Kenshin Kawakami and Javier Vazquez in the offseason and brought back Tom Glavine, putting together a solid rotation.
Jonathon Niese also pitched well for the Mets, allowing two runs and two hits in four innings. The 22-year-old left-hander is competing for the final spot in New York’s rotation.
"I think I’m ready for the big leagues," Niese said. "This spring has been a real learning experience, and I’m learning every time out."
Niese, who spent time last week talking pitching — specifically curveballs — with Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, struck out three and walked three.
He likely will start the season at Triple-A Buffalo if he doesn’t win the fifth spot in New York’s rotation.
"That decision won’t be made until later. I want to see him some more," manager Jerry Manuel said. "There was a lot of life on his pitches, and he’s starting to hit spots, but I’d like to see a little more command of his pitches."
Josh Anderson hit a two-out, two-run homer off Niese in the second inning and finished with two hits.
Mets left fielder Daniel Murphy went 3-for-4, raising his spring average to .400. He also made an embarrassing baserunning mistake in the fourth, getting picked off first by catcher David Ross when he danced too far off the base.
Ryan Church hit a solo homer for New York in the seventh inning.