LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Braves fans concerned after Jason Heyward left Sunday’s game in the fourth inning can breathe a little easier. It was apparently just cramping in his upper left leg.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez replaced Heyward immediately and said he wouldn’t be in the lineup Monday when the Braves play their final Grapefruit League game against the New York Mets.
“Why take a chance this late in spring training with any of that kind of stuff?” said Gonzalez, who replaced Heyward in the bottom of the fourth inning of a 7-7 tie against Philadelphia, as soon as the right fielder said his leg cramped when he chased a ball in the outfield. “He’s made so much progress and you don’t want a setback now.”
Heyward singled off Philadelphia left-hander Cliff Lee in the second inning, and he’s 6-for-16 with two homers and a double in his past six games.
Teheran: One bad inning
It’s usually been one bad inning that’s plagued the spring performances of fifth-starter candidates Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran, and Sunday was no exception.
Teheran sailed through three one-hit innings but didn’t make it out of a six-run fourth. The Braves’ No. 1 prospect was charged with three hits, five runs (four earned) and two walks, and all but one of the baserunners came in the fourth.
“That’s the sign of a young pitcher,” Gonzalez said of struggling to prevent an inning from spiraling.
After Placido Polanco led off with an infield single, Teheran walked Jimmy Rollins and Jim Thome.
“I thought the 3-2 pitch to Thome might have been strike three,” Gonzalez said, “but he’s got to forget that and try to get the next guy out.”
Hunter Pence’s fielder’s choice grounder drove in one run and Shane Victorino doubled in another. Teheran was replaced after another fielder’s choice and fielding error by catcher Brian McCann.
Gonzalez said the Braves could name the fifth starter Monday. They expect to need a fifth for only three or four starts before Tim Hudson comes off the disabled list in late April or the first week of May.
Teheran finished the spring with an 0-1 record and 9.37 ERA in five games (three starts). He allowed 22 hits and 17 earned runs in 16-1/3 innings, with eight walks and 10 strikeouts.
Delgado went 1-4 with a 7.89 ERA in six games (five starts).