"I feel getting ahead was important today," Milone said, per MLB.com. "There were a couple times where I lost command early in at-bats, but I was able to come back and kind of counter and throw some strikes and kind of get back into the count."
Manager Paul Molitor was short in his response regarding Milone's performance on the mound.
"I thought for the most part he was effective," Molitor said.
Milone has a 4.50 ERA through four spring starts. He has eight strikeouts in 14 innings.
"We hope it's tough because people are performing well," Molitor said. "Mike has had a good spring to this point and is scheduled to pitch again in Clearwater, Fla., [against Philadelphia] on the 23rd. And Milone has looked good and we'll see him [Saturday]. Meyer is a little behind on pitch count but has been fine, and May seems like he has a little more mound presence so far than he did last year. That's probably what that experience did to him."
Pelfrey and Milone remain the top two candidates for the job, with Meyer and May having options remaining that can allow them to open the season at Triple-A. Pelfrey was impressive in a split-squad start Wednesday.
"Mostly, his fastball is getting the groundballs he needs, but he's using his split-finger more and gaining confidence with that pitch, and mixing in his curveball, which he hasn't done for a while," Molitor said. "His pace was pretty good, and we're always looking for those little things like pace and holding runners, and he knows that's important."
"They both threw the ball well," Molitor said of the two rotation candidates. "Milone gave up a two-run homer in the first on I think a cutter that didn't get in far enough. But they both threw strikes."
Molitor watched the outing from behind the plate rather than at his normal post in the dugout.
"I had a different perspective watching from behind, which I don't normally," Molitor said. "But it gave me a better feel on how their pitches were looking and moving. I thought May did a good job using all of his pitches. His command of his secondary pitches was good, and for him that's something I've been concerned about. And they both did well with the running game and got through it clean for the most part."
May and Milone are competing with Mike Pelfrey and Alex Meyer for the final spot in the team's rotation.
Milone started the game with three scoreless innings. He allowed three hits and struck out three. He has now tossed five scoreless innings through two outings.
"I thought it was another good day," Molitor said of Milone's outing, per MLB.com. "He's using his fastball plenty for a guy throwing it 86-87 [mph]. His deception is good enough, and his command of his offspeed pitches so far in the first couple outings has been effective. He's jamming right-handers and getting them with changeups. So it was a good day, and he did a really nice job with baserunners, too."
May entered the game in the fourth inning. He allowed one run on two hits and one walk in two relief innings. He also struck out four batters. May, who dealt with an illness early in camp, made his first spring appearance Wednesday.
"It's always good to finally get out there on the field -- it's crazy that there were actual hitters and fielders," May said jokingly after the outing. "It felt good to get going. I felt good, I felt strong. It was weird coming from the 'pen so I tried to time it the best I could. But I think all considered, everything felt good coming out of my hand and I threw some good off-speed pitches."
Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune wrote in his Sunday column he feels
“You’re ahead of yourself,” Ryan said. “There are people who are going to argue with you. There are other people out there who are going to compete for that job and believe they’re ahead of Alex Meyer, because of their track record and experience.
“One of them is
“There are guys competing out there who want to send Alex Meyer back to the minors. Alex better realize he has to earn this thing. Which is a good position for us to be in.
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