#MLBPlayers411: Julio Teheran feels right at home on the mound

Baseball grew a little bigger in Colombia on Sunday when Julio Teheran -- only the 19th player from the South American country to reach the Major Leagues -- threw a one-hit, complete game shutout against the Mets.

Growing up in Cartagena, Colombia, Teheran was signed by the Atlanta Braves as a non-drafted free agent when he was 16 years old.

The 25-year-old right-hander's passion for baseball was driven by fellow Colombian, Edgar Renteria. In 2005, Renteria played for the Boston Red Sox, and many of the games were televised in Colombia. Watching those games further fueled Teheran's desire to play professional baseball.

Teheran's uncle, a Braves scout, provided the pitcher with his first baseball glove and taught him how to play. Now, his parents travel from Colombia to live with him in Atlanta during the season and return to Colombia in the offseason.

When Teheran was selected for the National League All-Star team in 2014, he became only the second Colombian -- along with his hero Renteria, a five-time All-Star -- to play in the Midsummer Classic.

 "Somebody asked Renteria who he watches most of the time now, and he pointed to me and said 'that's our guy now,'" said Teheran. "That made me proud, because I grew up watching him play."

Baseball has a long ways to go before it's as popular as soccer in Colombia, but Teheran, like Renteria before him, is doing his part.

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More from #MLBPlayers411:

  • Teheran's favorite video game is FIFA World Cup
  • Despite focusing on baseball, he remains a soccer fan. His favorite club is Real Madrid, primarily because of the presence of fellow Colombian James Rodriguez
  • His favorite food in the United States is barbeque, and he particularly likes pulled pork
  • Teheran considers his Major League debut (May 7, 2011) and his first All-Star Game experience as the top moments of his career thus far