About 4 minutes reading time.

Mets and Julio Teheran finalize 1-year contract, filling hole in rotation

 The Associated Press  |    Apr 5th, 2024 7:28pm EDT

CINCINNATI (AP) — Julio Teheran and the New York Mets finalized a $2.5 million, one-year contract on Friday, filling an immediate need in the team’s injury-depleted rotation.

A longtime Mets nemesis with the rival Braves, the veteran right-hander is scheduled to start Monday night against his former club in the opener of a four-game series at Atlanta.

“Now that I’m wearing the Mets’ uniform, I am very happy,” Teheran said Friday before the Mets played the Cincinnati Reds. “It’s just going out there, and just compete. I feel good with my pitches. Right now I’m on this side and just want to give my best.”

To open a roster spot, reliever Michael Tonkin was designated for assignment. The right-hander was 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in three appearances for New York, including a rough outing Thursday as he took the loss in the first game of a doubleheader against Detroit.

In other Mets news, slugger J.D. Martinez played his first minor league game since signing a $12 million, one-year contract late in spring training. Martinez was the designated hitter Friday night for Class A St. Lucie against Daytona as he gets ready to join the big league club.

The 33-year-old Teheran spent spring training with the Baltimore Orioles but opted out of his minor league deal in late March when he didn’t make their opening-day roster.

He spent 12 days at home in Miami, where he stayed sharp by throwing bullpens and one simulated game.

“He’s a guy that’s been in the league for a long time,” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said. “Last year he was a big addition for the Brewers. He’ll give you everything he’s got every time he takes the ball.”

Teheran can earn another $450,000 in performance bonuses this season. He believes he brings an improved repertoire to the Mets.

“I made some changes (during the spring),” Teheran said. “My slider got better. My two-seamer is running a little more. I learned a new changeup. Some say I’m a new pitcher.”

The two-time All-Star returned to the majors last year following an extended absence and went 3-5 with a 4.40 ERA in 11 starts and three relief appearances for NL Central champion Milwaukee.

David Stearns, the Mets’ new president of baseball operations, spent last season as an adviser to Brewers ownership after stepping down as their president of baseball operations the previous fall.

Teheran is 81-82 with a 3.83 ERA in 12 major league seasons with the Braves, Angels, Tigers and Brewers. He was an All-Star with Atlanta in 2014 and 2016.

Teheran made one start for Detroit in early April 2021 and then was sidelined by a shoulder injury. He pitched in Mexico and independent ball in 2022 before finally getting back to the big leagues last May with Milwaukee.

He said he came close to signing with the Mets prior to joining the Orioles.

“It was a tough decision for me,” Teheran said. “It was between two teams and I decided to go there. It was a better opportunity. I got the chance to (earn) a rotation spot.”

New York is minus No. 1 starter Kodai Senga and fill-in Tylor Megill because of shoulder strains. Two other depth pieces for the rotation, David Peterson (left hip surgery) and Max Kranick (strained left hamstring), are also sidelined.

The team just played a doubleheader Thursday following consecutive rainouts, and doesn’t have another day off until April 18.

“We’re in position where we’re down a couple of starters,” Mendoza said. “(Teheran’s) going to get an opportunity here. He’s got the ability to eat innings.”

Mendoza said Teheran was available out of the bullpen for Friday’s game against the Reds. But if he doesn’t pitch Friday, he’ll throw a bullpen Saturday to prepare for his Mets debut on Monday.

Teheran’s 81 wins are the second-most for a Colombian-born pitcher, trailing only Mets left-hander Jose Quintana (92).

“It’s big for our country to have two of the best starting pitchers on the same team,” Teheran said. “We’re going to have fun.”


AP Baseball Writer Mike Fitzpatrick in New York contributed to this report.


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb