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Yost: Time for pitchers to 'ramp up'

Yost: Time for pitchers to 'ramp up'

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Judging solely by the scoreboard, it was not a great afternoon for the Brewers' big-money men. But no one was pushing the panic button on Tuesday.

Starter Jeff Suppan and closer Eric Gagne both were saddled with some crooked numbers in an 11-4 loss to the Angels, as both made their fourth appearances in Cactus League games. With the Brewers' only Spring Training off-day scheduled Wednesday and the regular season looming in less than two weeks, results are about to become a bit more meaningful.

"This off-day is kind of a bridge for us," Yost said. "For me, Spring Training is kind of broken up into two phases. Your first phase, you get yourself physically ready to play baseball. After the off-day, OK, now we start to ramp up the mental side."

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Suppan took a 2-0 lead into the third inning but then surrendered six runs before getting through the fifth. In 4 2/3 innings he allowed six hits, including home runs by Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter, boosting his ERA slightly to 11.37 and bringing his hits allowed this spring to 21 in 12 2/3 innings.

But Suppan called it a step forward. His final spring chore was to work his cut fastball into his repertoire, and in that sense Tuesday marked a success.

"I care what the numbers are, but I'm not looking at the numbers right now," he said. "I'm working on other things. My main objective is to get ready for the season, and today was a big jump from my last game. ... I want to pitch well. I want to throw doughnuts up there, do my thing. But sometimes that's not the main objective."

The Brewers were in a 9-4 hole before Gagne took the mound in the eighth. He walked a batter and surrendered three hits and two runs while struggling to command his offspeed stuff. Yost said Gagne is "really close to being really good."

Like Suppan, Gagne was not outwardly concerned. He said he was still working on things, pointing to an at-bat against Juan Rivera in which Gagne threw three consecutive curves. Rivera walked and ultimately scored.

"I was throwing the ball good, now I'm to the point where I need to start getting people out," Gagne said. "Start thinking about the count, how to approach hitters. ... I've done everything I wanted to do physically. I'm ready. I'm where I want to be. Now I start thinking, season."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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