LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Braves pitcher Julio Teheran is about to have nearly twice his usual rest between starts and will pitch in a meaningful game, with national pride on the line, in just the second week of March.
After pitching three scoreless innings in his second Grapefruit League start Friday against the Red Sox, Teheran will have a full week’s rest between starts — three days more than usual — before he pitches for Colombia on March 11 in the World Baseball Classic. He’ll face Canada and Braves teammate Freddie Freeman.
Teheran is expected to have a pitch limit of 60-65 in his first WBC start, similar to what he’d have if his third start of spring was a Grapefruit League game, and will throw twice between starts, probably in bullpen sessions.
The extra rest wasn’t a concern for Braves manager Brian Snitker. It’s more about the the fact that Teheran would be pitching in a game that matters, so early in spring training.
“He’ll be fine,” Snitker said. “He gets amped up, though. Adrenaline rush, competitive pitching. You can’t control the situation like you can if they’re here. Hope everything…Just keep fingers crossed. He’s as ready as we could get him at this point, before he goes.”
Teheran downplayed it a bit when asked how excited he’d be pitching for Colombia for the first time.
“I’m excited every time I come to spring training,” he said. “I really take it like a normal game. You don’t feel the same, but I’m going to take it like I have to work. Every time I come to spring training, I come like I’m trying to make the team, like I was a couple of years ago. It’s still that mindset, that’s something that’s been helping me, to work harder every year. This year is no different.
“Just try to keep the mindset to make the team, even though we know I’m probably going to be the opening-day starter.”
As for the disruption in routine potentially affecting Braves playing in the WBC, including center fielder Ender Inciarte playing for Venezuela, Snitker said all of the Braves have been adjusting to changes since the Grapefruit League schedule started last weekend. The Braves already had three road games in the first week, including bus rides of more than an hour each way to face the Yankees in a night game at Tampa and nearly three hours each way to play the Cardinals in Jupiter.
With the Nationals and Astros now training in West Palm Beach instead of nearby Kissimmee and Viera, the Braves have only one team, the Tigers, within an hour of their spring-training home at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
“It’s tough this time of year, even for the position players,” Snitker said, “because everything’s kind of flowing, they’re getting in their routines, and then you have to travel so much. You’re on the bus a lot, it just cuts into your routine.”
The Braves are finalizing plans to move to a proposed new spring-training site outside Sarasota in 2019, where they will have seven teams within about an hour’s drive.
“That’d be great,” Snitker said. “You look around there (Sarasota), it may be a little like (Cactus League in) Arizona — do a full workout, drive over and play the game and guys just leave from there at a lot of those places. I know Detroit did that a couple of years ago here, they worked out (in Lakeland) and just came here and played.”