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Slider has been key to Teheran's development

Slider has been key to Teheran's development

Slider has been key to Teheran's development play video for Slider has been key to Teheran's development

ATLANTA -- At the beginning of the season, Julio Teheran focused on honing his slider into a Major League-quality pitch, a process which culminated in his dominant June 5 start against the Pirates, when he leaned heavily on the pitch in striking out 11 batters and allowing just one hit over eight innings.

After taking a backseat early in 2013, Teheran's curveball has been the most effective complement to his mid-90s fastball of late, thanks in part to the evolution of that slider earlier in the season.

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"At the beginning, [my curveball] was good, but I didn't use it as much because I was using more of my slider," Teheran said. "Now I feel like I can throw any count, because my slider made my curveball better."

In Teheran's two starts since the All-Star break, he's thrown a total of 33 curveballs, more than he has in any other two-game stretch this season. The Braves have been pleased with the results: Teheran has allowed one run and struck out 12 batters in 13 innings of post-break work, and the 22-year-old right-hander has built confidence in throwing his breaking pitches in any count.

"When you're a young pitcher, you get down 2-0 or 3-1, here comes a fastball, and then you have to go back up a base, because in the Major Leagues, these guys hit 94-mph fastballs," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Now he mixes it up, he knows what he's doing. I think [pitching coach] Roger [McDowell] has done a terrific job developing him and bringing him along in those situations."

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

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