Teheran staying true to regular-season prep

Pitcher hasn't let '17 Classic participation affect Spring Training

Teheran staying true to regular-season prep

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As Julio Teheran answered a question about whether his preparations for the World Baseball Classic influenced how he approached the two innings completed in Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Astros, his Braves teammate Freddie Freeman playfully chimed in by saying he now has a good scouting report for the upcoming matchup between Canada and Colombia.

"Threw a lot of offspeed [pitches] in hitter's counts, I took that to note," Freeman said, standing a few steps from Teheran's locker. "That 1-0 slider you threw late that had a little sink. I was scouting him the whole game."

Teheran is scheduled to be on the mound when he and his Colombian teammates face Freeman and the Canadian team on March 11 in Miami. But while Teheran is looking forward to representing his country and having some fun playing Freeman, he says he hasn't allowed the Classic to alter his normal preseason preparations.

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"I'm trying not to feel rushed or do anything different than I have any of the past four seasons," Teheran said. "I just want to get ready for the [regular] season. I think I'm going to be fine."

Teheran on spring, Classic

Teheran got his Grapefruit League season started auspiciously, as he displayed an effective slider and had a good feel for his changeup in two scoreless innings against the Astros. He surrendered a leadoff single to Norichika Aoki and brushed Carlos Correa's jersey with a fastball before escaping the first inning unscathed.

As Teheran moves toward what would be his fourth consecutive Opening Day start for the Braves, he will likely make just one more Grapefruit League start before leaving for the Classic. But if Colombia is eliminated in the first round, he'll still have time for at least three additional starts before the regular season begins.

"We're trying to get them as much work as we can, because when they get [to the Classic], it's game on for them," Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

Odds and ends

Aaron Blair struggled with his fastball command as he allowed three hits, issued two walks and surrendered a run over two innings against the Astros on Sunday. But he effectively used his slider, which could prove to be the weapon he didn't have to escape jams or put hitters away through most of 2016.

• Rapidly rising prospect Ronald Acuna singled and scored against Houston's Keegan Yuhl during Sunday's ninth inning. Acuna is a 19-year-old five-tool outfielder, and he has been called over from Minor League camp to serve as an extra during the first two games of the exhibition season.

• Left-handed reliever Eric O'Flaherty is a long shot to begin the season in Atlanta's bullpen. But as he tossed a scoreless fifth inning on Sunday, he showed good sink with a fastball that sat between 87-89 mph. He was one of the game's top relievers before elbow problems set in and plagued him over the past four seasons.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.