Teheran addresses trade rumors at All-Star media session

SAN DIEGO – After interviews in Spanish with film crews from his native Colombia, then garden-variety questions about the Braves’ first-half struggles, his lack of run support and making the National League All-Star team for a second time in three years, Julio Teheran was asked by a reporter the most thinly veiled questions imaginable about a thorny subject.

What was his relationship like with former Braves general manager Frank Wren? (Wren is now a top talent evaluator for the Red Sox.) And does Teheran have any friends on the Red Sox roster?

It was about as far as the reporter — who wasn’t from Atlanta — could’ve gone without simply asking Teheran if he’s heard the trade rumors about him going to the Red Sox and what does he think about them.

Teheran said got along fine with Wren before he was fired as Braves GM, and said he’s not close with anyone on the Red Sox roster but is a big admirer of David Ortiz and it’s an honor to be part of the retiring slugger’s last All-Star game.

“If I get to face him in this All-Star game it’s going to be the most exciting thing,” Teheran said during All-Star media day Monday at a posh bayfront hotel in San Diego, part of the build-up to Tuesday’s All-Star game.

But back to the trade rumors, since Braves general manager John Coppolella’s recent insistence that he doesn’t see trading Teheran and his club-friendly contract has not done much to quell Teheran-to-Boston buzz, at least not with the reporter who came to Teheran’s Monday interview session with that story atop his agenda.

Does it feel weird to hear such rumors, he asked Teheran.

“It feels weird, because I signed with the Braves and I wanted to stay my whole career with them,” said Teheran, in the third season of a six-year, $32.4 million contract extension that includes a seventh-year option. “But I know that (a trade) can happen and it’s out of my control. I just try not to think about it. Just try to concentrate on what I can control — every five days get ready and be healthy to pitch, and the other things will take care of themselves.”

Asked about the possible “excitement” of being traded to a playoff contender, Teheran smiled and said, “It’s exciting, but I don’t really think about being traded and being in the postseason. Obviously I want to be in the postseason, but I want to be with the team that I signed with, that I’m on right now.”

Teheran, 25, made the All-Star team despite a 3-8 record. That’s how good most of his other stats were including an 0.97 WHIP that ranks fourth in the NL behind fellow All-Stars Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer and Madison Bumgarner; a .207 opponents’ average that ranks eighth (six ahead of him are All-Stars), and a 2.96 ERA.

“He’s so well-deserving to be here,” said Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy, another second-time All-Star who made the NL team as a Met in 2014. “We were locker mates (at the 2014 All-Star game). So it’s nice to see Julio here.”

“He knows how to pitch, and that’s about as good a compliment as I can give a guy,” said former Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, now an American League All-Star in his first season as a Rangers outfielder. “He’s not one of those guys that needs the velocity, because he’s got the accuracy. He can hit the corners, elevate up and down, use the change-up and the slider. And he’s smart. I respect him, for sure, as a pitcher.”

Desmond is 8-for-32 (.250) against Teheran with one extra-base hit, one walk, 11 strikeouts and a .554 OPS. Only four players have more plate appearances against Teheran including Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who’s 4-for-34 (.133) with two homers.

Most of Teheran’s seasonal stats were significantly better – including a 2.46 ERA and .183 OA — before he allowed 20 hits and 10 runs in 12 2/3 innings over his past two starts, the first of those while dealing with an infection in his right thigh and the second coming after flew back to Atlanta for treatment and pitched on three extra days of rest.

“It was important (to be ready for the All-Star game),” said Teheran, whose parents, wife and brother made the trip to San Diego. “It was a bad moment with the thigh. But I’m glad we took care of that and I pitched a couple of days ago and felt good. And hopefully I’ll get to pitch one inning (Tuesday). Every time I get to come to an event like this it’s really big. You feel proud of yourself. That’s how I feel right now.”

Teheran didn’t get in the 2014 All-Star game because he’d pitched Sunday in the last game before the break. This time his last start was Saturday, giving him two days of rest and permitting him to pitch an inning if called upon.