An improved sinker and take-nothing-for-granted attitude are helping Julio Teheran have the type of spring the Braves hoped to get from their expected fifth starter.
Teheran got nine outs in his first 10 batters faced before allowing a run on two hits, a walk and a balk in the fourth inning of Thursday’s 9-2 loss to Detroit at Champion Stadium. After totaling five strikeouts with one walk in four innings against the Tigers, he has 12 strikeouts and two walks in nine innings over three Grapefruit League starts.
“I was commanding my pitches,” Teheran said. “I think my two-seamer (sinker) is working very well. All my pitches are working good, but I’ve got more confidence on my two-seamer now.”
After a disappointing second season at Triple-A Gwinnett (7-9, 5.08 ERA), the Braves asked their top-rated prospect to work on his sinker in the Dominican Republic winter league.
“He’s done that, and the thing is really moving down,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Then he’s got the power four-seam fastball he can use to punch out a guy up in the strike zone. If those two pitches come along with the two breaking balls, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
Teheran, who has allowed two runs and four hits in nine innings this spring.
“They wanted me to throw the two-seamer in the Dominican,” he said. “I wanted to learn how to throw that pitch and that’s what I did. I had the confidence and I said I’m going to bring it with me to Atlanta, and that’s what I’m doing now.”