The Braves announced on Sunday that Julio Teheran will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Mets at Citi Field. It will be Teheran’s fourth consecutive Opening Day start for the Braves, joining Greg Maddux and Rick Mahler as the only starters in Atlanta franchise history to start four consecutive Opening Days. The Braves’ Twitter account also notes that the only National League pitchers with longer streaks are Clayton Kershaw (six consecutive starts for the Dodgers) and Adam Wainwright (four consecutive starts for the Cardinals).
Teheran, 26, finished last season with a 3.21 ERA and a 167/41 K/BB ratio in 188 innings. As the Braves’ offense was the third-worst in baseball, Teheran had a meager 7-10 record.
Teheran is entering the fourth year of a six-year, $32.4 million contract. The right-hander drew trade interest near the trade deadline last summer, but GM John Coppolella repeatedly refused to trade him.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.