Teheran’s start bumped to Friday; ‘Folty’ could start Thursday

Joel De La Cruz will start Wednesday for the Braves in his major league debut against Cleveland, and Mike Foltynewicz could return from the disabled list to start Thursday for the Braves instead of making a second minor-league rehab start.

The Braves quietly bumped Julio Teheran back a day from Thursday to Friday, the move not announced but instead appearing in the pitching-probables section of the team’s daily game notes. That move will give their ace an extra day of rest and would allow Foltynewicz to start on regular rest (four days) coming off his first rehab start.

Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said after Tuesday’s game against the Indians that the Braves were still discussing the possibility of starting Foltynewicz on Thursday.

Left-handed reliever Matt Marksberry was optioned late Tuesday to Triple-A Gwinnett to open a spot for De La Cruz, 27, a right-hander who pitched eight innings of three-run ball Friday and has a 3.38 ERA in five starts since moving from the Gwinnett bullpen. He’ll make his big-league debut against the surging Indians, who’ve won 11 in a row.

Foltynewicz allowed one hit and no walks with five strikeouts in five innings in his first rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett Saturday, throwing 43 strikes in 65 pitches. He had been scheduled to raise his pitch count to about 90 in a second rehab start before rejoining the Braves rotation, but the demotion of struggling rookie Aaron Blair and strained oblique for rookie John Gant have created an urgency.

Foltynewicz has been on the DL for one month after being diagnosed with bone spurs in his pitching elbow. An MRI showed no structural damage and he was assured it would not put him at risk of further injury to pitch with the condition, as long as he was comfortable and didn’t alter his pitching mechanics.

He said after his rehab start Saturday that he felt good mentally and physically.

Teheran ranks second among major league starters in WHIP (walks-plus-hits per inning pitched) at 0.89, ninth in ERA (2.46) and seventh in innings (106). He’s on pace to top his career-high 221 innings in 2014, after totaling 200 2/3 innings last season (his second-highest total).

Teheran has pitched well on extra rest in the past, including his last start Saturday when he pitched eight scoreless innings against the Mets on two extra days’ rest.

Moving Teheran back to Friday means he would make two starts before the All-Star break instead of the three he would’ve made if he’d stayed on schedule. Instead of starting Thursday, then July 5 at Philadelphia and July 10 at Chicago (White Sox) in the last game before the break, he would presumably start Friday and then make only one more start before the break, that on July 6 at Philadelphia.

If that’s the case, Teheran’s chances of being named to the All-Star team would likely increase, since All-Star managers choose pitchers they know will be rested enough for their teams to permit them to pitch in the All-Star game (July 12).