It wasn't the start to the season that Julio Teheran envisioned, but it was a new beginning on a new team.
Last month, Teheran, 26, signed a two-year, $16-million contract with the Angels to avoid arbitration, and the right-hander who excelled in Atlanta returned home to start his career.
"It's a fresh start," he said. "You go from the same team to a new team with a new culture. It was a fresh start for me. It's not a good thing that I got traded. It's a new season. I'm sure we'll all get on the same page."
Teheran was optimistic about trying to repeat his performance last season, when he was 10-7 with a 3.52 earned-run average. He struck out 141 in 139 innings, 13 short of the Major League record set by Dennis Martinez of the Montreal Expos in 1988.
He gave up only 17 home runs, second fewest in the National League, and he kept the ball in the park by leading the league with a .192 batting average against. He won his final four starts of the season and seven of his last nine.
"What I did last year, I didn't get caught up in that," he said. "I just go out and pitch the way I know how to pitch."
Teheran pitched the first inning and Chris Young took the mound for the Angels in the American League exhibition opener on Monday. Teheran was relieved that the first start went so well.
"The good thing is that I was able to do all my normal things and make adjustments," he said. "That's what we do in the bullpen. I got out of the first inning no problems and got better every inning."
Though he has a reputation for having a funky delivery that batters sometimes can't make out, Teheran said he's not worried about the new nature of the game in the AL West and with the American League a little different.
"It's a good division," he said. "All teams are fast. You have to pitch and throw the ball. You need to be able to throw changeups and sliders. You have to have a change of pace and be able to attack a zone. There's going to be fast-balls. There's going to be left-handers. You have to be able to be that competitor."
He said it's still too early to talk about potentially having the Angels make a World Series run.
"I'm not paying attention to all that," he said. "It's a new team. We'll see. You never know how you're going to bounce around. It's still early. You never know."
For now, all he's focusing on is his first start.
"It's just the first inning," he said. "You don't know how it's going to go. It's a fresh start."
Rally Met tour
The New York Mets staged their annual FanFest and Rally Met Rally Tour last week at Citi Field, and the event went so well that the team is expanding the tour to include stops in Kansas City, Arizona, Detroit, Houston, Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Toronto, Tampa Bay, Washington and Baltimore.