Julio Teheran and Freddie Freeman are Braves teammates but soon they will be on different teams for the World Baseball Classic. With that in mind Freeman did a bit of scouting while playing first base behind Teheran for the right-hander’s first 2017 Grapefruit League start on Sunday.
“A lot of off-speed on hitter’s count,” Freeman shouted playfully as Teheran talked to reporters in the clubhouse. “I took that to note.”
Teheran will represent Colombia and Freeman will play for Canada in the international tournament. Canada and Colombia are both in Pool C and scheduled to meet on March 11 in round-robin play.
Starting pitchers typically don’t throw many off-speed pitches in early exhibition games. Teheran said he didn’t mix his pitches against the Astros because he’s rushing to get ready for the WBC.
“I like to work on my off (speed) early in the spring,” he said. “I don’t want to wait until the last game of spring training to work on the stuff that I want to have in the regular season. Why not work (on it) the first game of spring training if you have to fix something or have to make adjustments?”
There wasn’t much for Teheran to tinker with during a scoreless, two-inning outing. He allowed one hit with a walk, a strikeout and one hit batter. He threw 18 strikes among 30 pitches while supplementing fastballs with sliders, curveballs and change-ups.
Astros outfielder Norichika Aoki led off the game with a single and, with one out, Teheran hit Carlos Correa with a pitch. Evan Gattis, the former Braves catcher, lined out sharply to right field and Tyler White grounded out to end the threat.
In the second inning Teheran struck out Derek Fisher and, after Jon Kemmer walked, retired Juan Centeno and Reid Brignac on fly outs.
“I feel pretty good,” Teheran said. “I feel that everything was working normal. A couple of mistakes with the fastball but it wasn’t that bad for the first game of spring training.”
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