DENVER -- "Hopefully" was the term most frequently used as the Braves exited Friday night's 4-3 loss to the Rockies concerned about their ace, Julio Teheran, who had exited in the fifth inning with upper back discomfort that could disappear in a couple of days or linger long enough to
DENVER -- "Hopefully" was the term most frequently used as the Braves exited Friday night's 4-3 loss to the Rockies concerned about their ace, Julio Teheran, who had exited in the fifth inning with upper back discomfort that could disappear in a couple of days or linger long enough to require a stint on the disabled list.
"We'll see how I feel tomorrow," Teheran said. "Hopefully, it's all clear. We'll see. We'll take it day by day and hopefully I won't have to miss a start."
Really, all the Braves can do is wait and see about an injury that their medical staff termed tightness in the right lat, which is the large muscle underneath the shoulder. Obviously, there will be no reason to take any unnecessary risks with an ailment that could affect the right-hander's throwing motion and possibly lead to a more significant injury.
But at the same time, Braves manager Brian Snitker hopes Friday night's exit was made soon enough to remain viewed as precautionary.
"Hopefully, it was good he didn't try to push through it because sometimes you keep going and then you screw something up for weeks," Snitker said. "Hopefully, this will be just days."
Whatever the case, this might alter some chatter on the trade market. Even though Braves general manager John Coppolella has said he will not trade Teheran, the pitcher was expected to continue to draw attention from pitching-hungry teams leading up to the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Teheran felt some discomfort after throwing a pitch in the third inning and then nearly got through the fourth inning, which included his only two walks, without feeling anything. The All-Star pitcher exited after attempting to field a Mark Reynolds infield single that began the bottom of the fifth. He did not aggravate the injury while reaching with his left arm to stop Reynolds' ball to the right of the mound.
Braves catcher Anthony Recker walked to the mound to give Teheran a breather after the play and was soon joined by shortstop Erick Aybar. Teheran indicated to both he was fine, but because he had known about the discomfort in the third inning, Aybar convinced the pitcher to call for trainer Jeff Porter, who watched one warmup pitch before walking with Teheran toward the clubhouse.
"It didn't get any worse," Teheran said. "I was feeling the same thing [that I had during the third inning]. I know how long I can go with soreness, but I decided to come out before it was something serious."
Teheran limited the Rockies to three hits over four scoreless innings and now has a 2.16 ERA over his past 17 starts, dating back to April 20.
Because the Braves have an off-day on Monday, they could choose to push Teheran's next scheduled start back two days and bring him back to face the Phillies on Saturday. But for now, they are simply hoping to have this option.
"It's one of those things where you just have to wait until tomorrow and look at him again to see how it feels," Snitker said.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.