You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

WBC: Teheran gets better of Freeman where it matters — the scoreboard


Through the upheaval of a franchise under reconstruction, they emerged as weight-bearing beams to the Braves’ future. On Saturday, though, Julio Teheran and Freddie Freeman found themselves facing each other as adversaries for the first time, across the international divide of the World Baseball Classic.

Give this one to Colombian over the temporary Canadian.

Pitching five strong innings, an uncommonly fiery Teheran helped Colombia (1-1 in WBC first-round pool play) to a 4-1 victory over Canada (0-2).

As the winning pitcher in Colombia’s first-ever WBC victory, Teheran was a major player in a small bit of his nation’s baseball history. Yet, out of character, he refused requests to speak to the media afterward.

As for the game within the game between teammates, that essentially was a draw.

After appearing fidgety and uncomfortable on the mound in the first inning — giving up a walk and two singles to three of the first four Canadians he faced — Teheran settled in impressively from there. He retired the next 13 in a row, getting more efficient by the inning to squeeze five innings from this outing (there is a 65-pitch limit in the WBC first round).

One of those early hits was a Freeman single ripped past the Colombian first baseman to score Canada’s only run.

“It was definitely a little weird seeing him from the batter’s box,” Freeman said.

“He went first pitch in (edging Freeman off the plate), and then I thought he was going to try and throw some things by me. But he went 1-0 change-up, and I was able to reach out and hit it into right field.”

His teammate on every day but this then helped out his pitcher a little bit. Not exactly Donovan Bailey on the base paths — the momentum-challenged first baseman has 19 career major league stolen bases — Freeman was thrown out trying to steal second.

“I thought I was safe. He’s a 1.7 (seconds) to home plate. Trying to get two guys in, trying to put some pressure on them. Obviously the call didn’t go our way,” Freeman said.

Freeman would have dropped in another single in his other at-bat vs. Teheran had not the Colombians positioned their third baseman in shallow right field in an extreme shift against the pull-hitting left-hander. Overall, Freeman ended the day 2-for-4, his other hit a single when he barely beat out the throw of that pesky third baseman playing on the opposite side of the diamond.

He had no doubt that he would be well-scouted, given the identity of Colombia’s starter. “Julio’s on that team, so it didn’t surprise me,” Freeman said. “I’ve never been shifted that big.”

For his five innings of work — 61 pitches — Teheran allowed but the single run, two hits, striking out three and walking one. Striking out former Brave Pete Orr to end the fifth inning, Teheran let loose a big fist pump and a loud shout, demonstrating considerably more emotion than he usually would expend this time of spring.

The motivation for the two Braves came from different places. Freeman, a Californian, chose his team as a tribute to his late Canadian-born mother. For Teheran, this appearance was all about country.

Only 16 when the Braves drafted him, Saturday represented his first opportunity to play wearing Colombia’s colors. “I’m really excited. It’s a great honor. It’s the biggest pride,” he said back at Braves camp before leaving for the WBC. “When I put my jersey on I’m going to feel the energy.” Teheran wore that energy on his sleeve Saturday.

The anticipation was high for both parties. For weeks leading to Saturday’s game, Freeman and Teheran bantered back and forth inside the Braves clubhouse at the Disney complex.

Well, Freeman mostly.

“Just making fun. We’re both excited,” Teheran said.

“Yeah, I do (dish out the majority of the smack),” Freeman said earlier in the week. “I’m just hoping if all goes well I’ll get two doubles off him and, like, four RBI. Then I could really have the upper hand on him all year.”

Didn’t quite work out that way.

No, for whatever weight one afternoon in the WBC will carry, Teheran can bring it to bear against his first baseman for as long as he chooses.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Braves

Brandon Phillips is happy, Braves happy to have him
Brandon Phillips is happy, Braves happy to have him

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – He was traded to the Braves just a couple of days before players began reporting to spring training, yet right away it seemed as if Brandon Phillips had always been part of the team, so seamless was the veteran second baseman’s transition to a new clubhouse. “Well, when you’ve got a personality like...
LEADOFF: How the Braves rank position by position
LEADOFF: How the Braves rank position by position

Baseball statistics/analytics website FanGraphs has posted its annual position-by-position power rankings for all 30 MLB teams – an interesting exercise because it measures each team’s personnel against the competition, rather than assessing it in a vacuum. The Braves’ lineup doesn’t score highly in the analysis. FanGraphs ranks...
Swanson focused on ‘process’ during spring training
Swanson focused on ‘process’ during spring training

By his own admission, Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson came into his second big league camp differently than last year, though his approach remains the same. “I don’t think the approach is different, just the circumstances are different,” said Swanson before the Braves faced the Mets on Sunday. “I try to always be the best version...
Braves sign reliever Hernandez; Chapman impresses
Braves sign reliever Hernandez; Chapman impresses

Just because spring camp closes down this week doesn’t mean the Braves are winnowing down their bullpen options. They appear, in fact, doing the opposite. The team signed right-handed reliever David Hernandez to a non-roster contract Sunday after San Francisco released him two days ago. Hernandez, 31, was 3-4 with a 3.84 ERA in 70 games for Philadelphia...
Braves’ Dickey has best spring outing, says he’s ready
Braves’ Dickey has best spring outing, says he’s ready

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – R.A. Dickey said all spring that he wasn’t concerned with results in Grapefruit League games, that it was only about how he felt in preparing for the season. The Braves knuckleballer said that when he got knocked around in several starts and said it again Saturday when he had his best spring performance. Dickey...
More Stories