Milone makes strong case for rotation spot

In third spring start, lefty allows only 1 hit in 4 scoreless innings

Milone makes strong case for rotation spot

JUPITER, Fla. -- Tommy Milone is making a strong case to be included in the Twins' starting rotation, especially after his latest outing Monday.

Milone, making his third start this spring, tossed four scoreless innings, allowed one hit, issued no walks and struck out two in the Twins' 5-3 win against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.

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Milone breezed through the first three innings, setting the Cardinals down in order in each frame. He retired the first 11 batters he faced before St. Louis first baseman Matt Holliday doubled to deep center field with two outs in the fourth inning.

"It would have been nice to get out of there clean, but just hung a changeup there, and I guess he was waiting for it," Milone said of Holliday's double.

Twins manager Paul Molitor talked prior to the game about the importance of fastball command for all pitchers, and Milone certainly displayed that against the Cardinals.

"It was fun to watch, just using all his pitches," Molitor said of Milone's outing, which lowered his ERA to 2.00 this spring. "That's the way you draw it up. If you want to be critical, he left a couple pitches up there, but it was efficient. That's what Tommy does when he's on and he's hitting his spots. It was good to see his curveball a little better, [and his] changeup has been good every time he's been out there. He's had a nice spring. Really from the beginning, he's looked pretty sharp. Today, you can't do much better than that, but he's been moving in that direction all spring."

Milone, who is out of Minor League options, said he's simply going to keep being steady on the mound the remainder of the Grapefruit League season and hopes it pays off with a spot in the rotation.

"Just try to replicate what I've been doing the last two outings," he said. "Fastball command has been there. Offspeed pitches have been good, late life, down in the zone. I think it's just a matter of being consistent now."

Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.