Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran met with the media at Chop Fest on Jan. 19 at SunTrust Park. In the interview, he discussed his offseason travels, how he deals with trade rumors, controlling his velocity and more. The interview was edited for brevity.
Q: You did a lot of traveling this offseason didn’t you?
A: I did, yeah. I went to Israel and I went to Dubai. It was something new for me and my wife. We decided to go there because we are Christian and wanted to see something different. It changed our lives a little. Now, I’m back to baseball after getting my mind away from it for a while. Sometimes that helps.
Q: You said you made some changes last year. Have you built on that, or have you made more changes this offseason?
A: I think that I try to stick with the way I finished the season. Sometimes I get stuck with bad habits. If you don’t pay attention to them and you get used to them, it’s going to be an issue for you. I’ve tried to concentrate on those bad habits and getting them away from me.
Q: When you went into this offseason, did you think there was a chance you would be traded? Have you kept up with that? Do you consider the possibility that this could be your last season?
A: It’s always going to be a possibility. It’s a business, so it can happen any time during the offseason or during the season. It’s something that doesn’t bother me. Obviously, I want to stay here. This is the place, the organization that I have spent my whole career with since I was 16, so I don’t want to be traded. I’m just preparing for the season. That’s all I can control.
Q: It seemed like after the last game, you were sitting in front of your locker for a long time. What were you thinking about?
A: I was thinking about the way we finished. We wanted to go further. The way I finished pitching, I wasn’t expecting that. It was different for me to come from the bullpen, but I enjoyed it. We were losing, so I didn’t enjoy it the way I wanted to. It was just kind of sad because we lost the game. We lost the chance to go to the World Series, something I had been dreaming about.
Q: Age-wise, you should be at the prime of your career. Do you feel like you can re-establish what you had going a couple of years ago, that All-Star form?
A: Every year is different. I know everybody is expecting more from me, and I know I can give more. I’m just sticking that in my mind. I want to get in that All-Star form. I don’t want to get into any kind of pressure, though. I just want to enjoy it.
Q: Have you reached a comfort point pitching around 89-90 mph? Have you put less importance on velocity?
A: I don’t really think about velocity because when I came in the league my first year I was throwing 95, but I couldn’t get anybody out. When I came back and started focusing on location and getting my pitches, that’s when we started getting Julio Teheran in All-Star form.
Q: What feedback have you gotten from Rick Kranitz, the new pitching coach?
A: I haven’t actually talked to him that much. I know we will have a lot of time. We’ve got the whole spring training to work and see what he thinks will be good for me. Hopefully we get to develop a good relationship.
Q: Last year your walks were up, almost by design since you lived on the edge of the strike zone. Do you expect that to be the game plan this year and for the rest of your career?
A: I was trying to keep the runs scored down, but when you pitch like that, walks will be an issue. When you try to strike out everybody, you will get everybody in 3-2, so there’s always the possibility of a walk. I’m working on the balance, and when I get that, I think everything will be back.
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