Youth Doesn't Hold Back Braves' Teheran





ATLANTA—The Braves expected Julio Teheran to pitch in the big leagues at some point this season. The team just didn't envision the coveted 20-year-old righthander from Colombia making a pair of starts in May.

That scenario unfolded on May 7, when a doubleheader earlier in the week necessitated an emergency start by Teheran. Despite struggling to get ahead in the count, which was attributed to nerves, the righty allowed four hits and three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings in a 3-0 loss at Philadelphia. He was back on a big league mound 11 days later, limiting the Diamondbacks to two runs over four innings, after fifth starter Brandon Beachy strained a left oblique.

"He showed a lot of poise out there," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said after Teheran's debut. "He showed us in spring training what he can do, and he's been dominating in Triple-A. Overall, I thought he pitched well against a very good offensive team. Once he settled down, he showed everything you want to see."

Upon entering his second major league start, Teheran ranked third in the Triple-A International League with a 1.91 ERA while posting a 3-0 record in 38 innings. The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder's fastball has sat in the low-to-mid 90s, and he has shown solid command of his changeup and curveball.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Teheran's development is the fact he had only 13 starts above the Class A level prior to his second big league outing—seven starts at Double-A Mississippi after a promotion last year and six at Gwinnett this year.

As well as Teheran has pitched, his selection over Mike Minor was as much a case of timing as performance. The lefthander out of Vanderbilt started three days prior to Teheran's second outing and has pitched well enough to garner a spot on the big league roster should a need arise.

"Both Julio and Mike have pitched very well during the first month-plus of the season," Braves farm director Kurt Kemp said. "Their command has been outstanding at Gwinnett, and they're throwing all of their pitches for strikes and pitching ahead in the count."

Wigwam Wisps

• Righthander Jacob Thompson, Atlanta's fifth-round draft pick in 2008 out of Virginia, announced his retirement. The 24-year-old, who was 1-4, 8.78 at Gwinnett, decided to hang up the spikes after giving up 12 runs over three innings in his final two starts.

• Low Class A Rome infielder Matt Lipka, the Braves' first pick in 2010, endured an 0-for-18 slump before finding some holes during an 8-for-28 stretch in his next six contests. Lipka has encountered some ups and downs at the plate while seeing activity at both shortstop and second base.