ATLANTA -- A spot start on Sunday by Julio Teheran gave the Braves a chance to see what their prized right-hander has been working on this season at Triple-A Gwinnett.
The results were mixed. For four innings, Teheran shut down the Blue Jays, allowing just one hit. But his command soon faltered, and he didn't make it out of the fifth inning. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said it was a typical start for a young pitcher, but he was pleased to see Teheran throwing a better curveball this year.
"I thought last year, at times, he was just a two-pitch pitcher -- fastball, and then the changeup would be his second-best pitch," Gonzalez said. "But I saw some really good curveballs yesterday. I really, really did."
Teheran -- the No. 1 prospect in baseball entering the season, according to MLB.com -- threw his curveball much more than he did in five appearances last season.
The increase in frequency of the pitch came at the expense of Teheran's changeup, which is considered to be a better pitch. He threw just four changeups on Sunday, by far the lowest percentage of any of his Major League appearances. Catcher David Ross said he often called for a changeup, but Teheran shook him off in favor of his curveball.
"I think he has more confidence in it," Ross said of the curveball. "I was calling for some changeups, which I always thought was his best secondary pitch, and he chose to go with some more breaking balls and it was working out. That's the joy of working with a young kid who's got some confidence."
Blue Jays manager John Farrell said he was surprised by how often Teheran threw the curveball, and it appeared several players were as well. In the first inning, Teheran threw right fielder Jose Bautista back-to-back curveballs, including one to strike him out looking.
Ross said he could tell that Teheran has worked on his curveball, but he said there's still room for improvement.
"It was coming off his fastball pretty good," Ross said. "It was a little firmer. It's still kind of big for an out pitch in the Major Leagues for me, but he's working on tightening it up, and he had some really tight ones going."
Braves plan precautionary rest for Beachy
ATLANTA -- Brandon Beachy does not seem too concerned about the slight discomfort he recently felt near his right elbow, but the Braves are going to take advantage of a chance to give him a couple of extra days to rest before his next outing.
Beachy's scheduled turn on Wednesday will be filled by Tim Hudson, who had his own start pushed back by a few days because of left ankle discomfort. With a scheduled off-day on Thursday, the Braves could bring Beachy back for Friday night's series opener against the Orioles, but it seems they are leaning toward having him pitch on Saturday. This would give him seven days of rest between starts.
If Beachy does start on Saturday, Tommy Hanson will start Friday's game against the Orioles on one extra day of rest.
"Any time you can get those guys an extra day, if you can, you would like to do that," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
When asked if he has been feeling any discomfort in his arm, Beachy said, "Nothing worth mentioning."
- 142 wins
- 110 wins
Beachy, who leads the Majors with a 1.98 ERA, has made each of his past two starts on an extra day of rest. Still, his command has not been as sharp as it was during the early portion of the season. There was also some concern when just one of the six four-seam fastballs Beachy threw during Friday's sixth inning touched 90 mph.
According to FanGraphs.com, Beachy's four-seam fastball has averaged 91 mph this year. But it should be noted that five of those fastballs were thrown while Beachy was pitching out of the stretch with nobody on base in attempt to throw off Jose Bautista's timing. It did not necessarily work, as Bautista opened the inning by hitting an 87-mph fastball over the left-field wall.
Hudson provided the Braves some good news when he got through Monday's bullpen session without much of a problem. The veteran pitcher was bothered by bone spurs in his ankle while tossing a shutout against the Marlins last week. When the discomfort worsened as the week progressed, the Braves skipped him on Sunday with the intention of starting him on Wednesday.
"It felt all right," Hudson said after Monday's bullpen session. "It felt good enough. I didn't expect it to be all of a sudden 100 percent. I think Wednesday should be good. I mean, it was good enough today to pitch."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Teddy Cahill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.