Colombia’s very own, Julio Teherán, a native of Cartagen, has gone from being a rookie trying to make the Atlanta Braves roster to being named the team’s Opening Day starter in a year.
Teherán has combined his effective performance on the field with injuries to pitchers Kris Medlen, Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy to become the Braves’ No. 1 pitcher when they open the Major League Baseball season against the Milwaukee Brewers in the U.S. state of Wisconsin on March 31.
“I’m happy,” Teherán, 23, told reporters. “It’s a great honor to be the starting pitcher on Opening Day. I just want to say thanks for the opportunity. I have been working hard and it has paid off.”
Braves Manager Fredi González has been impressed with Teherán, who has a 1.42 earned-run average to go along with 17 strikeouts and three walks during his first five starts in spring training.
“I think he’s mature enough to handle it,” González told reporters. “People tell you it’s not that big of a deal. But I think it’s a big deal.”
Teherán signed with the Braves in 2007 and started dominating the minor leagues before he earned the final spot in the starting spot in Atlanta’s pitching rotation last year.
“Last year, I was trying to [be] the fifth starter,” Teherán, who was 14-8 last year, told reporters. “This year, when I was working out in the offseason, I was thinking I can be the first one. That gave me more motivation. When I put goals in my mind, that’s when I start working harder.”