Braves ace Teheran to start opening day

Assuming right-hander Julio Teheran has no setbacks between now and then, he will start for the Braves when they open the season on April 6 at Miami.

It’s been assumed Teheran would start the opener because he did so last season and went on to be named an All-Star for the first time. But manager Fredi Gonzalez had shied away from announcing it until Teheran made it through the spring with no physical mishaps.

After Teheran made what will be his longest outing of the season on Friday, Gonzalez said Teheran will start against the Marlins as long as he’s healthy.

“I didn’t know before the game,” Teheran said. “It’s a great honor like it was last year.”

Teheran opened 2014 as the staff ace after injuries to other pitchers moved him up in the rotation. The Braves signed him to a six-year, $32.4 million extension in February on the promise of better things to come after his strong rookie season in 2013.

Teheran went on to post a 2.89 ERA over 221 innings in 33 starts and now he’s the No. 1 starter again.

“This has been what I have been working for,” Teheran said. “That’s a place that you want to be and you don’t want anybody to take it from you. Last year I feel like if I got to the first opening day start that is the place I want to be for the rest of my career.”

Teheran pitched 5 2/3 innings in Friday’s rain-shortened game against the Red Sox and allowed two runs and five hits including a two-out, two-run homer by Mookie Betts. In 14 innings pitched in the Grapefruit League this spring Teheran has posted a 5.79 ERA with 11 strikeouts and eight walks.

Gonzalez said Teheran will make have one more, shorter outing in an exhibition game in preparation for starting opening day.

“He’s a guy that could be in that spot a lot of times,” Gonzalez said.