"I put up big goals for myself," said the 21-year-old right-hander, who will make his Major League debut in Cleveland on Wednesday night. "If I don't make it, I would get really tough on myself. And that's the thing that would get me in trouble when I'm pitching."
His goal for Wednesday is to enjoy himself and try to keep his team in the game. Considering the situation, the first part is probably for the better.
As if facing the Indians isn't tough enough, doing it with a pennant race brewing only adds to the pressure. Now, he'll have the eyes of his entire homeland watching him, with the game being broadcast over local television on his native island of Curacao.
Yet the way the Tigers have been pitching lately, at least Jurrjens comes into the game with some momentum, having won his last three starts with a 0.78 ERA at Double-A Erie. He has enjoyed a resurgence since the beginning of July, something he partly credits to finally getting his arm into midseason form.
After strains last summer in his neck and shoulder, he said, "I was scared to play catch back home. I didn't play catch like I wanted to play catch. Since I'm throwing more, my arm's getting stronger."
The rest, he says, is lifting the figurative pressure off of his shoulders.
"It's been working up to now," he said.
How he reacts Wednesday will be the big test.
"There's going to be pressure," he admits. "I see it as a challenge for me. The team has to really trust me to put me in the fire. Hopefully I can earn that trust.
"I can tell you this: They're going to get 100 percent effort."
Roster move: The Tigers made room on the roster to purchase Jurrjens' contract after Tuesday's game by optioning right-hander Yorman Bazardo to Triple-A Toledo. Bazardo, called up Sunday for pitching depth, tossed 2 2/3 innings with an unearned run allowed in Sunday's win over the A's.
Polanco, Monroe ailing: How did Placido Polanco feel after setting the record for consecutive errorless games by a second baseman? Not well. In fact, he'd have a hard time making any plays Tuesday.
The flu-like symptoms that befell Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander over the weekend have now crept into the lineup. Both Polanco and left fielder Craig Monroe were expected to be in the starting lineup for the Tigers against Indians lefty C.C. Sabathia, but both were clearly under the weather as they slowly made their way around the visiting clubhouse at Jacobs Field.
They're not injuries -- not long-term ones, anyway -- but for a team that has had to get along without key players for much of the year, this summer sickness just adds to the problems. Without Polanco and Monroe, Curtis Granderson started in center against Sabathia. Ryan Raburn, who likely would've started in center, moved to second base, while Marcus Thames started in left. First base became a way for shortstop Carlos Guillen to rest his knees.
The Tigers bench Tuesday night essentially consisted of backup catcher Mike Rabelo and first baseman Sean Casey.
As for Verlander, he was feeling somewhat better Tuesday. Not only was he kept away from the team on Monday, but he traveled to Cleveland separately in what now looks like a futile effort to contain the sickness. He's still expected to make his scheduled start Thursday at Yankee Stadium, but as he described the virus, "I wouldn't wish this upon anybody."
Tigers trade Hannahan: The Tigers announced a minor deal Tuesday, sending Triple-A Toledo infielder Jack Hannahan to Oakland for Minor League outfielder Jason Perry.
Hannahan, a third-round Draft pick of the Tigers in 2001, was batting .295 with a .422 on-base percentage for the Mud Hens to go with 13 home runs and 63 RBIs in 101 games. He went 0-for-9 with a walk in three games as a Tiger early last season.
In exchange, the Hens receive Perry, a fellow left-handed hitter who has split this season between Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento. Combined, he was hitting .265 with 23 doubles, 23 home runs and 75 RBIs. He's expected to join the Mud Hens on the East Coast in the next couple of days.
Coming up: Jurrjens' Major League debut will also mark the Tigers' latest brush with Fausto Carmona (13-7, 3.26), whose stellar season has been tempered by losses in his last three starts. Two of those, however, have been quality starts. Game time is 7:05 p.m. ET.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.