If Julio Teheran keeps pitching as he has in his past three starts, it will be hard for the Braves to take him out of the rotation when Brandon Beachy returns from Tommy John surgery in the second half of June.
The rookie right-hander went into a start at Arizona on Tuesday having allowed a total of six runs in the past three outings. He lasted seven innings in two of those appearances.
Improved control has been a big part of Teheran's recent success, with the native of Colombia walking just one over 19 innings. He's also been helped by his willingness to use all of his pitches.
Teheran threw 10 changeups Thursday in Atlanta's lone victory at San Francisco after going back to the grip he used several years ago. It helped him keep the Giants off balance, and now the Diamondbacks will have another pitch to worry about when they face the Braves' fifth starter.
Bypassed because of a rainout, Teheran hadn't worked in nine days before facing the Giants. Even so, he nearly matched his outing of April 23 at Colorado, when he gave up one run over seven innings. This time he allowed three runs while again walking none in seven innings.
The victory over the Giants made Teheran 2-0 and lowered his ERA to 4.84. The Braves are 5-1 in his starts.
With Beachy likely back in about five weeks, Teheran will have at least six or seven more starts to show what he can do as he builds off his recent improvement.
Beachy, who was leading the majors in ERA when hurt last June, was scheduled to pitch two innings in an extended spring training game Tuesday, then to start his minor league rehab on Sunday.
Teheran was looking to give the Braves their second consecutive win in Arizona late Tuesday after Atlanta cruised to a 10-1 win Monday.PLAYER NOTES-- RF Justin Upton made his return to Chase Field memorable, getting four hits, including a two-run homer, in his first game in Arizona since his Jan. 24 trade to Atlanta as part of a seven-player deal. His home run gave the Braves a 5-1 lead in the fifth. "It's a great park to hit in. Good batter's eye. You see the ball well," said Upton, who added repeatedly that his return was just another game. He said at a pregame press conference, "It is not the seventh game of the World Series. There are going to be a lot of games that come after this one. You take them in stride."
-- 3B Chris Johnson made a good return to Arizona, where he played the final two months in 2012. Johnson had his third home run among three hits, and he ended the night a triple short of the cycle. His second-inning single broke an 0-for-18 drought. "I've been struggling a little lately. I just wanted to try to get some good pitches to hit," said Johnson, who was dealt from Arizona to Atlanta in the January deal that also brought RF Justin Upton to the Braves.
-- LHP Mike Minor (5-2) has won both of his career starts against the D-backs after giving up one run and eight hits in 6 innings of a 10-1 victory Monday. "Everything goes to the defense, the hitting. It wasn't really about me. It was about everybody else. I didn't have my best stuff tonight," Minor said. He gave up one earned run in eight innings to beat the D-backs on April 19, 2012.
-- RHP Julio Teheran made his seventh start of the season Tuesday, his second career appearance against Arizona after going four innings in a 2011 start. Teheran has made best three starts of the season in his last three, with seven-inning quality starts for victories in Colorado and San Francisco sandwiched around a no-decision in which he gave up two runs against Washington. Atlanta has won all six of his starts.
-- RHP Brandon Beachy was scheduled to pitch two innings in an extended spring training game Tuesday before starting on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett that is expected to include six or seven starts. "He is going to stay with Gwinnett the whole time," Gonzalez said. Beachy underwent Tommy John surgery on June 12, 2012.
-- RF Jason Heyward (appendectomy) played in the field for the first time Monday on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett. He went 1-for-2 with a double and a walk. Heyward might return to the major league roster this weekend.
-- RHP Kameron Loe, who signed a minor league deal with the Braves on Sunday, won his debut appearance with Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday. He pitched 1 scoreless innings. Loe refused an outright assignment to the minors last week after posting no record and a 5.40 ERA in seven relief appearances for the Cubs. He opened the season with the Mariners, for whom he went 1-1 with a 10.80 ERA in four appearances.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I've been searching for this swing the month of May. To square one up and for it to carry was nice." -- RF Justin Upton, who had gone 42 at-bats without a homer before he went deep Monday in his return to Arizona.