Mark Jurich Interview

Mark Jurich was one of the hottest players in the Braves minor league spring training camp back in March. But then he was hit in the face in a freak injury. Jurich returned in May, but the injury did hamper his 2005 season. BravesCenter's Bill Shanks spoke with Jurich about his 2005 season.

SHANKS: Tell me about the injury.
JURICH: We were in spring training doing drills. There was some miscommunication. I was getting balls from the third baseman. (Jaime) Trejo threw a ball when I wasn't looking, and it caught in the eye. I was looking toward home plate. It hit me right in the nose, right below the eye.

SHANKS: Have you ever had any pain like that before?
JURICH: No. Hopefully I'll never have to experience it again.

SHANKS: So what was involved in the surgery?
JURICH: They put two face plates in and they had to rebuild my nose. They put a face plate right underneath my eye in the orbital bone, and then I had a triangular break, and they put one in my cheek, and they rebuilt my nose.

SHANKS: And you don't really rehab from that do you?
JURICH: You don't. You just let it heal.

SHANKS: You were having a remarkable spring training, weren't you?
JURICH: I was feeling good and just trying to make this (Myrtle Beach) club. Everything worked out well, though.

SHANKS: And this was not like Francoeur's injury, where he got hit batting and had to overcome that feeling of being up at the plate again.
JURICH: No in terms of that there wasn‘t really anything to overcome. I wasn‘t hitting. I wasn‘t fielding. It was just a freak accident. Seeing the first pitch was fine and getting the first ground ball, but after that there was nothing to worry about.

SHANKS: How has the transition to first base from the outfield gone? Have you ever played there before?
JURICH: Never. It's going well. I've played outfield my whole life. Last year when I went down to Instructs they told me they wanted me to play first base. I'm still making some rookie mistakes. I'm still not backing up when I need to be all the time, but I feel alright. I just need to keep working at it and keep improving.

SHANKS: What's the hardest part about learning how to play first base?
JURICH: Just knowing where to go. I've never been in the infield, and the balls get in on you a lot quicker. Also, just knowing where to be. I've been in the outfield my whole life, and being in the infield, there are just a lot more places to be and are certain places to go.

SHANKS: Do you feel comfortable there now?
JURICH: I do. I feel real comfortable. I just need to cut down on these rookie mistakes, but that'll come with more game experience.

Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team. He can be reached at

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