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Notes: Teheran scratched; Middleton debuts

@RhettBollinger
February 26, 2020

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Julio Teheran was scratched from his scheduled start on Wednesday against the Dodgers with left hamstring tightness but said it’s a minor injury and he’ll make his next start early next week. Right-hander Griffin Canning started at Camelback Ranch instead.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Julio Teheran was scratched from his scheduled start on Wednesday against the Dodgers with left hamstring tightness but said it’s a minor injury and he’ll make his next start early next week. Right-hander Griffin Canning started at Camelback Ranch instead.

Teheran, who joined the Angels on a one-year deal worth $9 million this offseason, said he injured himself while running in the outfield. But an MRI exam came back clean and the Angels believe it was more of a cramp than a strain. He’ll make his next start on Monday or Tuesday.

“It’s nothing big, it’s just something that we need to take care of, probably in two days I’ll be pitching [a bullpen session],” Teheran said. “I’ll be fine for my next outing.”

Angels manager Joe Maddon admitted he was concerned when he heard it was a hamstring injury but was relieved to hear it was minor. He said Teheran remains on track to be ready for the start of the regular season.

“When we first heard, it was you gotta be kidding me,” Maddon said. “But the tests were all good. It should be minimal. We’re just skipping a start. We think if we skip a start here he’ll be fine the next time out. That’s what we’re working on right now.”

Teheran, 29, has been extremely durable over the last seven years with the Braves, making at least 30 starts and throwing at least 174 innings in each of those seasons. The right-hander has a career 3.67 ERA, including a 3.81 ERA in 174 2/3 innings over 33 starts last year.

“I think preparation is the key,” Teheran said. “Every time I come to work, I’m taking care of myself and my arm and my whole body. That's something that I use. All I want is to keep it healthy. That’s something that I want. Injuries are always out there. You just want to limit that.”

Middleton pleased with debut
Right-handed reliever Keynan Middleton made his Cactus League debut on Tuesday, striking out one and giving up a solo homer against the Reds. But it was an encouraging outing for Middleton, who was pleased with his velocity, especially after having trouble with it late last season in his return from Tommy John surgery.

“It was nice,” Middleton said. “It felt really good. Just being healthy. And just worrying about executing pitches instead of worrying about pitching through stuff. I heard my [velo] but I’m not going to say it. I was just happy with it and it’s all good.”

Middleton, 26, showed closer-type stuff as a rookie in '17 with a fastball that averaged 96.9 mph, only to see it dip to 94.1 mph in 11 outings last year. But Middleton, who has a career 3.23 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 83 2/3 innings in parts of three seasons with the Angels, worked hard this offseason and believes he’s in a good place compared to last season.

“I was wild and my velo wasn’t there and my slider wasn’t there consistently,” Middleton said. “But everything in camp so far has been nice. That’s what I worked on my whole offseason, my slider. And just being stronger and healthy, and I was able to do that. So I’m really happy with where I’m at right now.”

Angels tidbits
• Reliever Ty Buttrey, who has been out with an intercostal strain, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Thursday. He’ll throw another one on Saturday or Sunday, and then on Wednesday, before getting into a game in early March.

• Former Angels first baseman Wally Joyner has been in camp this week as a special instructor, while former second baseman Bobby Grich will arrive this weekend. Maddon recalled that he scouted Joyner while he was at Brigham Young University and was the one who recommended him as the Angels’ third-round pick in 1983. Maddon calls Joyner “Wallace Keith” and Joyner calls Maddon “Joseph John.”

Up next
Right-hander Matt Andriese, acquired in a trade with the D-backs this offseason, will make his Angels debut on Thursday against the Padres at 12:10 p.m. PT at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Andriese is competing for the final spot in the rotation but is a candidate for the bullpen if he can't crack the rotation. Adrian Morejon starts for San Diego.

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.