KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — With Mike Foltynewicz slowed by a sore right elbow, Julio Teheran could make his sixth straight opening-day start for the Atlanta Braves.
Teheran made his 2019 exhibition debut Monday, pitching three innings in a 4-3 loss to Houston.
The 28-year-old right-hander allowed three runs — two earned — and three hits. His fastball reached 94 mph, and he struck out four, including three on sliders.
“It was working today,” he said.
Teheran gave up a two-run homer to Derek Fisher, his third batter, on a fastball with a 2-2 count, a pitch Teheran said he would not have thrown in that situation during the season.
He walked none in his first outing since pitching two innings in a minor league game last week.
Foltynewicz was an All-Star last year, going 13-10 with a 2.85 ERA. Teheran was 9-9 with a 3.94 ERA and appeared only in relief in the NL Division Series loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Teheran said starting the opener at Philadelphia on March 28 is not a priority.
“Every time I come to spring training I’m just trying to make the team. This year is the same mentality,” he said. “I know we’ve got a bunch of guys with talent. I’m just here to fight for my spot. I’m just trying to get ready for the season even if I don’t get to start opening day.”
Foltynewicz pitched two innings in his first outing on Feb. 24, then was scratched from his next turn. He has resumed throwing along with right-hander Kevin Gausman, who has been slowed by a sore right shoulder.
NL Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna Jr. homered in the sixth off Brady Rodgers.
“The important thing is I feel good at the plate, I feel comfortable,” Acuna said.
Notes: SS Dansby Swanson, recovering from offseason left wrist surgery, is expected to make his spring training debut Tuesday against the Yankees in Tampa. ... Manager Brian Snitker said 3B Josh Donaldson will participate in some situation baserunning-type drills on Tuesday. Donaldson missed most of last season with a calf injury. He has not yet appeared in an exhibition game.
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