PHOENIX (AP) – Tommy Milone is hoping to improve upon his breakout rookie season.
He’s off to a good start.
Milone pitched two scoreless innings in his first spring start and Josh Reddick hit a three-run homer in the third inning, leading the Oakland Athletics to a 6-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.
Milone went 13-10 to tie a franchise record for wins by a rookie last year and led the A’s with 190 innings pitched.
Despite his success in the big leagues, Milone said he is treating this spring as he did last year.
“It took a little while to get going, but I felt a little more comfortable in the second inning,” the left-hander said after throwing 36 pitches. “It’s just a matter of going out there and throwing to hitters in real situations.”
Milone was trying to win a spot in the starting rotation last spring, and he’s taking the same approach this year even though his place is certain.
“I’m trying to do the same thing,” he said. “Trying not to let myself think I have a spot. I have to go out there and still perform every five (days) for the team and keep it close.”
Reddick hit a three-run homer in the third inning and broke out of a 1 for 8 slump with two hits, and Brandon Moss also homered for the A’s. Reddick hit 32 home runs last season.
“It’s always nice in spring training when you get a couple of guys on, you get a good pitch to hit and just drive the ball,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of Reddick’s drive.
Eric Sogard and late-inning substitute Michael Choice drove in runs for Oakland, Sogard with a fourth-inning single and Choice a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Jhoulys Chacin started for the Rockies and allowed three runs and four hits over 2 1-3 innings in his second spring training start. Chacin was limited last season to 14 starts because of right shoulder inflammation.
“That’s what happens when you get behind counts,” Chacin said of his outing. “I was just trying to sink down and away and the ball just stayed in the middle (on Reddick’s home run). My changeup was really good and that’s something I’m happy with.”
Nolan Arenado hit a three-run shot in the sixth inning for Colorado. Arenado also hit a ball just a shade under 410 feet to straightaway center field, but A’s outfielder Coco Crisp chased it down and made a basket catch in the fourth inning.
NOTES: Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, catcher Ramon Hernandez and Chacin played their last games before heading to Puerto Rico to play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. Gonzalez singled, scored and walked twice and Hernandez was 1 for 3 and threw out a would-be base stealer. LHP Jorge De La Rosa, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery that limited him to three starts in 2012, makes his second spring training start Sunday when the same two teams meet in Scottsdale, Ariz. . The A’s are scheduled to start RHPA.J. Griffin against the Rockies. Griffin was 7-1 in 15 starts last season and pitched two scoreless innings in his spring training debut last week. … New Oakland SS Hiroyuki Nakajima was twice hit by pitches in the game but said afterward he felt fine. He stole a base and scored a run, and has already become a fan favorite at A’s spring training games, where one fan led a “Na-ka! Ji-ma!” chant in the stands.
– By JOSE M. ROMERO, Associated Press
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