KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Julio Teheran's first start of the Grapefruit League season was essentially a microcosm of his 2015 season, during which he struggled early and then finished strong.Making his first true tune-up for what would be his third consecutive Opening Day start for the Braves, Teheran conditioned his arm
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Julio Teheran's first start of the Grapefruit League season was essentially a microcosm of his 2015 season, during which he struggled early and then finished strong.
Making his first true tune-up for what would be his third consecutive Opening Day start for the Braves, Teheran conditioned his arm and body by completing three innings during Wednesday's 9-5 loss to the Astros at Osceola County Stadium. The Atlanta right-hander allowed four of the first seven hitters he faced to reach safely and then retired each of the final six batters that he faced.
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"He had some stressful innings, but you hate for a guy to go through a whole Spring Training going one, two, three the whole time," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "You want him to work out of the stretch and get some stressful innings at some point during Spring Training."
Teheran's first two innings conjured memories of last season's first four months, within which he posted a 4.71 ERA over 21 starts. But as he constructed a perfect third inning while facing George Springer, Carlos Correa and Luis Valbuena, the 25-year-old right-hander looked more like he had during last season's final two months, within which he produced a 2.95 ERA over 12 starts.
Jose Altuve began the bottom of the first inning with a double that raced past the third-base bag. Two batters later, Correa drilled a sacrifice fly that Michael Bourn snared in deep center field. Jason Castro's second-inning leadoff homer accounted for the only other run surrendered by Teheran, who allowed three hits and issued a walk during his 40-pitch, three-inning stint.
"It felt weird being back out on the mound and in the game," Teheran said. "The last inning, I felt a lot better."
Odds and ends
• With a pair of hits during Wednesday's loss, Hector Olivera improved his batting average to .474 (9-for-19). Each of his nine hits have been singles.
• Gonzalez did not seem too concerned about the left ankle injury that forced Rio Ruiz to exit Wednesday's game in the eighth inning. Ruiz turned his ankle as he exited the batter's box and then gingerly made his way to first base before limping toward the dugout under his own power. The Braves are hoping that he will be sidelined for just a few days.
• The Braves signed veteran pitcher Chris Volstad to a Minor League deal with the hope that he could at least eat some innings at Triple-A Gwinnett. But they might alter that plan, now that Volstad has allowed eight earned runs and eight hits through the 2 2/3 innings he has completed. The veteran pitcher has made just seven Major League appearances since 2012.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.