San Diego Padres position battles: Former Atlanta Braves pitcher carving out role

The San Diego Padres took a chance on Julio Teheran this offseason, and the move could pay off as a key piece of pitching depth for the 2023 season.

After pitching in independent ball and the Mexican League during the 2022 season, Teheran, signed to a minor league deal in early February, is looking to make his way back to an MLB mound for the first time since throwing for the Detroit Tigers on April 3, 2021. The 32-year-old right-hander would not pitch again that season after suffering a shoulder strain and being placed on the 60-day injured list.

Teheran is best known for his nine seasons with the Atlanta Braves, starting 226 games and posting a 3.67 ERA/4.23 FIP/1.211 WHIP over 1360.0 innings. Now, however, he is looking to reclaim a spot on a Major League roster, and is inching closer to potentially accomplishing that goal with the Padres.

San Diego Padres roster battle: Julio Teheran could make roster as long reliever

Padres manager Bob Melvin has acknowledged that Teheran could be a part of the Opening Day festivities at Petco Park on March 30 as the team’s long reliever. This spring, Teheran has pitched 15.2 innings and performed well in three of the five outings. The other two, however, saw him give up eight runs and 11 hits in 7.0 innings of work.

Those tough outings might have put a damper on Teheran’s chances, but he rebounded from them to scatter two hits over 3.2 innings in his last performance on March 19 against the Chicago Cubs.

“Obviously I came here for a reason, to show them that I can be a part of one spot (on the roster). It doesn’t matter where it is,” Teheran told me after throwing three scoreless innings against the Cubs on March 3. “I’m just doing the best I can and showing them that I can do it. I want to be here. This is a great team and obviously I want to be a part of it.”

Teheran said that, even though he knows the Padres are weighing his future and every outing matters, he is not putting additional pressure on himself to pitch well when called upon by Melvin.

“That’s something I don’t want to put in my head,” Teheran said. “I’ve been in this situation before. Getting people out is what I am focused on. Go out there and compete whenever I am needed and do whatever I can to throw scoreless innings, but I don’t really have any pressure on me.”

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