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Top prospect Teheran will make debut Saturday

Top prospect Teheran will make debut Saturday

Top prospect Teheran will make debut Saturday
PHILADELPHIA -- Instead of having either Tim Hudson or Tommy Hanson pitch on short rest, the Braves will call on top pitching prospect Julio Teheran to make his Major League debut Saturday night against the Phillies.

As the Braves analyzed their options Friday morning, they determined that instead of jeopardizing their starting rotation, it would be better to bring the highly touted Teheran up to make the spot start.

"From a baseball development standpoint, whether you're in player development or scouting, these are the days that you really enjoy," Braves general manager Frank Wren said.

While there will be plenty of excitement surrounding this debut, Wren said Teheran has already been told that he will definitely return to the Minors following this start. The decision to promote him and push Jair Jurrjens' start back one day was to avoid having to bring either Hudson or Hanson back on short rest for Sunday's series finale.

The Braves were a little tentative to have Teheran make his debut in front of a nationally televised audience Sunday night. Thus they opted to start him Saturday and have Jurrjens pitch the series finale.

"[Teheran] has been told he'll come up tomorrow and make just this one start, regardless of the results," Wren said. "He understands, and he has the makeup to handle it."

Teheran's makeup has impressed many since the Braves gave him an $850,000 signing bonus in 2007. Armed with a plus fastball and impressive command, the 20-year-old hurler hasn't disappointed. MLB.com ranks him as the game's second-best right-handed prospect and the 10th best overall prospect.

"I'm excited," Braves All-Star catcher Brian McCann said. "Any time you get to see your top prospect -- someone you have been reading about for three years -- you're going to be looking forward to it and feeling some excitement."

Teheran seemed comfortable attending his first Major League Spring Training this year. He produced two scoreless innings in Grapefruit League play before being sent back to Minor League camp.

"He's one of the top pitchers in the Minor Leagues, and everybody raves about his stuff," Braves center fielder Nate McLouth said. "It will be exciting."

Teheran has gone 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his five starts for Triple-A Gwinnett this year. He has recorded 25 strikeouts, issued eight walks and limited opponents to a .118 batting average.

"Give the kid a chance," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He's been pitching good."

Gonzalez said he might have felt more comfortable bringing Hudson or Hanson back on short rest in September. But ultimately, the Braves didn't want to mess with the makeup of a starting rotation that had posted a 2.06 ERA in the team's previous 14 games entering Friday.

Because rain postponed Tuesday's game, Hanson and Hudson both made starts Wednesday during a doubleheader against the Brewers.

Hanson has been bothered by a bad back since Spring Training. But he was comforted by MRI results Monday and experienced no problems while throwing 101 pitches and limiting the Brewers to two runs in six innings Wednesday.

Hudson topped that performance, throwing 101 pitches in the one-hit masterpiece he completed against the Brewers in the nightcap.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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