Braves All-Star Teheran leaves game with injury

DENVER – Braves pitcher Julio Teheran left Friday’s game against the Rockies in the fifth inning with tightness in the latissimus dorsi muscles on the right side of his back.

The Braves will likely wait a day or two to determine whether to place him on the 15-day disabled list, but interim manager Brian Snitker said he hoped Teheran avoided serious injury and could be back within a few days.

“Yeah, that’s the way I’m thinking about it,” Teheran said. “We’ll see how I feel tomorrow (Saturday). Hopefully it’s all clear, but we’ll see. We’ll take it day by day and hopefully I don’t have to miss a start or anything like that.”

The All-Star left the game with the Braves leading 1-0, after trying to field Mark Reynolds' slow-rolling infield hit as it went past the mound on the third-base side. The Braves lost 4-3 after two relievers gave up a pair of two-run homers.

Teheran said the play on the Reynolds single had nothing to do with the discomfort in the lower part of his lat, behind and just below the shoulder, which he said began after a third-inning pitch. At that time he didn’t think was serious enough to come out of the game, and he didn’t feel it again in the fourth inning until the final batter of the inning.

After the leadoff singlein the fifth, it was at the insistence of shortstop Erick Aybar that Teheran signaled to the dugout. Head trainer Jeff Porter went to the mound and spoke for a couple of minutes with the pitcher, who then threw one warm-up pitch to test his condition before walking off the field with Porter.

“We’ll see him again tomorrow and see where we’re at,” said Snitker, who didn’t know until later about the discomfort Teheran felt in the third inning. “He had said maybe just one of the pitches he threw, he felt something. He went back out and tried to throw.

“Hopefully he was smart instead of trying to push through something and make it worse, so hopefully it’s something that’s not that bad. It was good that he came out (when he did).”

Teheran said he initially felt discomfort in the lat area after a third-inning pitch, but he thought he could continue. It didn’t get any worse until the fifth, and Aybar — whom Teheran had told about the discomfort earlier — advised him to leave the game after Teheran said he wanted to keep “battling” and stay in.

Aybar told him that wouldn’t be a wise decision.

“Aybar knew when I did it in the third inning; I told him I was going to stay in and battle, get through that (fifth) inning and then we’ll see,” Teheran said. “He said, ‘No, we need you.’ I though, yeah, I need to be smarter and hear what he’s saying, and miss a couple of innings rather than miss a start or the rest of the season.”

Teheran gave up three hits and two walks in four scoreless innings and got no decision in Friday’s 4-3 loss, after pitching seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball against the Rockies in his previous start Saturday in Atlanta and getting no decision in that 1-0 Braves win.

“I don’t know what the extent of it is, we’ll probably find out in the next couple of days,” Braves catcher Anthony Recker said. “But hopefully it’s nothing serious. It didn’t seem like it, the way he was talking to us out there (on the mound), but you never know. He’s the ace of our staff. Anytime you lose him, that wouldn’t be good. Hopefully we get him back pretty soon.”

Snitker said, “He’s (been) throwing so good again, too. He’s just dealing. Hopefully it’s nothing big.”

Teheran has a 2.16 ERA in his past 17 starts, though only a 3-6 record in that span as the Braves scored two or fewer runs while he was in 11 of those games.

In 26 starts since Sept. 1, Teheran has a 2.45 ERA and .206 opponents’ batting average. He has a 5-9 record in that stretch and the Braves scored two or fewer runs while he was in 19 of those 26 games.

Recker had gone to the mound after the Reynolds infield single just to give Teheran a chance to catch his breath, something the catcher said he tried to do whenever he could at Coors Field due to the high elevation. He didn’t realize until he was talking to Teheran and Aybar came to the mound that there was any other health issue.

“When Aybar came over that’s when it seemed like obviously something was going on,” Recker said. “He said (to Recker) that he was good. He was saying the same thing to Aybar, but Aybar was saying, ‘Hey, let’s just get this looked at because you never know, it’s not worth hurting yourself even more,’” Recker said. “When he threw that warmup pitch obviously he had some discomfort.”