Right-hander Julio Teheran made an emphatic statement Friday night against the Nationals in his bid to be Atlanta's fifth starter.
Teheran retired nine of 10 batters faced in three innings with five strikeouts and no walks. Teheran threw strikes on 26 of 34 pitches, including 11 strikes on 11 pitches in the first inning.
In two spring starts, Teheran has allowed one hit and one run in five innings with seven strikeouts and a walk. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Teheran was sharp during winter ball and is looking even better now.
“His command was excellent there and it's carried over,” Gonzalez said. “I've seen a better sinker the last two times out than I did in the Dominican.”
Teheran's only run allowed was a firs-inning home run by Bryce Harper, who hit a high ball that just carried over the left-field wall.
Teheran's fastball was clocked in the low-to-mid 90s. In addition to the sinker, Gonzalez said Tehran threw some curveballs and sliders.
Teheran, who is rated as the Braves' top prospect by Baseball America, is in competition with Sean Gilmartin for the final rotation spot. In 2012 with the Braves, Teheran posted a 5.40 ERA in 16.2 innings pitched with 16 hits allowed, 21 strikeouts and nine walks.
Gonzalez said Gilmartin is scheduled to follow starter Kris Medlen on Saturday against the Astros.
The Braves haven’t been able to acquire the ace they might have wanted for the top of their rotation, but they secured the depth they needed Monday with the signing of free agent right-hander Gavin Floyd.
One week after the Braves were eliminated by the Dodgers in a four-game division series, Braves general manager Frank Wren met with the team’s beat writers and discussed the 2013 season and the team’s needs going into the offseason.