Braves’ Teheran returns from DL to pitch against Padres
Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran will make his first start since being activated from the disabled list Saturday to face San Diego, which will use a bullpen game in the finale of the four-game series at SunTrust Park.
The Braves (41-29) increased their lead in the National League East to 2 1/2 games with a 1-0 victory on Saturday that guaranteed the Padres (34-39) wouldn’t win a sixth consecutive series.
Teheran (4-4, 4.31 ERA) came out after one batter in the fifth inning of a loss at San Diego on June 4 because of a right thumb contusion and hopes the rest during his DL stint will help him regain some of his lost velocity.
The 27-year-old former all-star gave up three homers while losing his third straight start. His average fastball velocity this season is 89.2 mph compared with 91.4 mph last year.
Even before jamming a finger while batting, Teheran’s fastballs were mostly in the 85-87 mph range against the Padres, and three long balls raised his season total to 14.
“My arm has been sore,” Teheran admitted for the first time last Sunday while the Braves were in Los Angeles playing the Dodgers. “Obviously as a pitcher you have games where you don’t feel 100 percent. This year for me it’s been kind of up and down.”
Teheran is 1-3 with a 6.11 ERA and eight home runs allowed in 28 innings during his past five starts.
“Whenever you’re fighting through soreness, one day you feel good and the next day you don’t. You still go out there and compete,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a big deal. But working on it, we’ll see if this (next) couple of months we’ll get my velo back.”
Right-handed reliever Matt Strahm (1-2, 2.55) will get his fourth spot start for the Padres as manager Andy Green turns to his bullpen to fill in the rotation spot left open by the hip injury to rookie left-hander Joey Lucchesi.
Strahm has a 1.23 ERA in 7 1/3 innings as a starter after throwing three perfect innings in the Padres’ victory over the Cardinals in St. Louis on Tuesday.
Submarine right-hander Adam Cimber followed Strahm with one-hit ball for three scoreless innings and the Padres won their second straight bullpen game after a victory over the Braves on June 6 in San Diego.
“It’s got to be tough as a hitter,” Green said. “First, you have a lefty slinger throwing 95-96 (mph). Next at-bat, you’ve got a drop-down righty coming from underneath. It’s just two radically different looks, and it plays well off each other and keeps guys uncomfortable. By the time you’re up a third time, you’re facing a back-end reliever.”
Strahm pitched a perfect inning in relief against the Braves two days before his start in San Diego, when he allowed a first-inning homer by Freddie Freeman but only one other hit in 2 1/3 innings of the 3-1 win by the Padres.
Teheran’s 11-4 loss in San Diego gave him a 4-3 record and 4.13 ERA in nine career starts against the Padres.