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Foltynewicz on target for Braves

Right-hander, vying for a spot in rotation, gives up one run over 3 IP
Special to MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, the leading candidate for the fifth spot in the Braves' rotation, had a solid performance in three innings against a very formidable Red Sox lineup in Atlanta's 11-1 loss on Sunday afternoon.

Foltynewicz went three innings, giving up one run on two hits and a walk with one strikeout. He had to work out of jams in the first and second innings, before retiring the side in order in the third.

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, the leading candidate for the fifth spot in the Braves' rotation, had a solid performance in three innings against a very formidable Red Sox lineup in Atlanta's 11-1 loss on Sunday afternoon.

Foltynewicz went three innings, giving up one run on two hits and a walk with one strikeout. He had to work out of jams in the first and second innings, before retiring the side in order in the third.

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In the first, Dustin Pedroia led off with a single to right and Andrew Benintendi doubled. Pedroia scored on Mookie Betts' sacrifice fly. Hanley Ramirez reached on an error by shortstop Johan Camargo. But Foltynewicz got Mitch Moreland to ground into a double play, ending the inning.

Jackie Bradley led off the second, reaching base on an error by first baseman Christian Walker, followed by a walk to Josh Rutledge. But Foltynewicz got Christian Vazquez to ground out, struck out Deven Marrero and got Pedroia to ground out, ending the inning.

"The first two innings, they were kind of a big blur. A lot of things happened real fast," Foltynewicz said. "But I got the chance to work out of some jams there and work around some errors, which you might need to do during the season. But I think I did a pretty good job of that.

"Fastball command was a little iffy today. That could have been a lot better. I was using the off-speed a little more the second time through the order and I think they were hitting them into the ground instead of getting more solid contact. But overall I feel good and I felt good out there. So it's just overall an average day."

Video: Outlook: Foltynewicz aims to continue upward trend

The first six batters in the Boston lineup were starters.

"Yeah, there were a couple of guys sitting out there, but they got a great team out there that they threw at me today," Foltynewicz said. "And their guys on the bench are great, too. So I know they're going to be making some noise out there in the [American League] East. But, yeah, a good lineup today, and solid hitters top to bottom. So happy I scooted out of there with one run."

There is a noticeable difference, he said, in his confidence level from a year ago. At the end of the 2015 season he had surgery to remove a portion of a right rib, to alleviate blood clots that were found in his right arm. In 2016 he was 9-5 with a 4.31 ERA in 22 starts.

"Yeah," Foltynewicz said. "I had a good offseason this year, normal. Went in strong, and I think I'm going out there and throwing the ball well so far. My offspeed is there a little bit. And, yeah, I'm just very confident and a little more comfortable around the guys in the clubhouse. It's been pretty fun lately."

Manager Brian Snitker was pleased with what he saw, as Foltynewicz worked out of trouble.

"I don't know if he got him in -- we got him in some trouble," Snitker said. "But it was just good to see how he limited some damage. Went to his secondary stuff well, I thought. It was good. That's really good to see with him, how he doesn't go harder, harder. He kept pitching, and he pitched his way through that. ... I thought it was a really good outing for him.

"I'm always excited to watch Folty. He came to Spring Training this year and didn't have any gloves on him, so to speak. Last year, he was coming off the surgery. He's been throwing the ball really well.

"Right now it's just, get your pitches, locate your fastball. Secondary stuff will come. But pretty much the fastball location is the biggest thing probably."

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the Braves on Sunday.

Atlanta Braves, Mike Foltynewicz