LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Randall Delgado appeared to take another step closer toward winning his battle with Julio Teheran to begin this season as the Braves' fifth starter.
Before Teheran surrendered yet another home run and struggled through a two-run sixth inning in Monday's 4-3 loss to the Cardinals, Delgado limited the defending World Series champions to two runs over five innings. His lone mistake was a hanging changeup that Matt Carpenter belted for a two-run homer in the fourth inning.
"There was just one changeup that came back over the plate to Carpenter, the left-handed hitter," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Other than that, I thought he threw the ball really well. He threw some changeups that were down in the strike zone with some bite.
"His fastball is good and his curveball is one of the best curveballs I've seen. His changeup is really, really good."
This marks the second straight start in which Delgado's curveball has gained praised. He primarily threw his fastball and changeup during his seven Major League starts last year. According to Fangraphs.com, Delgado threw his curveball with just 11.3 percent of his pitches last season. But he seems much more confident with the pitch he threw more frequently during his Minor League outings.
"They get comfortable and start becoming the pitcher we saw in the Minor Leagues," general manager Frank Wren said when asked about the frequency with which Delgado is throwing his curveball. "That's really the development process. They sometimes get in the safety-first mode when they get to the big leagues rather than just being themselves."
Carlos Beltran's second inning home run was the ninth that Teheran has surrendered in 13 innings. The heralded pitching prospect believes his struggles are a product of inconsistent fastball command. Six of the home runs were hit during his two-inning stint against the Tigers on March 4.
Teheran admits that he is not as comfortable when coming out of the bullpen like he did on Monday and during that game against the Tigers. It will be his turn to start in the Major League game when they are both scheduled to pitch again on Saturday.
With both scheduled to pitch five innings, the Braves will have Teheran start against the Blue Jays on Saturday. Delgado will pitch in a Minor League game that day.
Jones reflects on Bisher's legendary career
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Chipper Jones laughed and said "that was a long time ago" when asked if he remembered the first time that he met Furman Bisher. While the Braves' third baseman is not exactly sure when the first meeting might have occurred, he certainly felt fortunate to have known the legendary journalist over the past 20 years.
"He's been welcome in our clubhouse as long as I've been here," Jones said. "He's really pro-Atlanta sports, which is nice when you get a guy at the local paper who boosts the sports scene and fan support the local teams. That's always a good thing. He was a great man and this is a sad day."
Bisher died of a heart attack at the age of 93 on Sunday. His legendary journalism career included an interview with Shoeless Joe Jackson and more than 50 visits to both The Masters and Kentucky Derby. Over the past couple of years, he continued to come to Turner Field to interact with Bobby Cox and some of the Braves players that he continued to watch on a nightly basis.
"The last time I saw him at the end of last year, it never would have dawned on me that he was 93 years old," Jones said. "I thought he was in his late 70s or early 80s. The bottom line is he lived a long full life and made a significant contribution to his community."
The Braves are giving away two free tickets to a 2012 Braves game to the first 1,000 fans to register for a special edition Georgia-issued Atlanta Braves license plate by Wednesday. Interested fans can place their $25 manufacturing reservation at braves.com/tags.
Top catching prospect Christian Bethancourt turned some heads when he had no trouble throwing out speedy Cardinals outfielder Adron Chambers, who attempted to steal second base during the ninth inning of Monday's game. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny had Bethancourt's throw timed at 1.75 seconds, while some other scouts in attendance had the 20-year-old catcher at 1.84 seconds. Either way, those are impressive times.
Braves backup catcher David Ross celebrated his 35th birthday on Monday.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.