Milone, Johnson make spring debuts

Milone, Johnson make spring debuts

PHOENIX -- In need of a strong spring to have any chance at regaining a rotation spot, Tommy Milone struggled out of the gate in his Cactus League debut Thursday.

Pitching against the Brewers at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, Milone walked two of his first four batters and also gave up a pair of homers, a two-run shot to Ryan Braun and a solo one to Juan Francisco.

"Braun hit a fastball," said Milone. "I just left it up a little bit.

"My arm felt good, though. Homers don't feel good, but for the first start, I'm glad everything was working fine. I'm just trying to find the command of the zone. I was kind of in and out, so I was throwing behind in some counts, and that resulted in throwing the ball over the plate."

New closer Jim Johnson also gave up a long ball in his spring debut Thursday, a solo homer by Francisco. But the way he looks at it, when factoring in Arizona's dry air, "I gave up one fly ball, so overall I pretty much did my job."

"Balls were hit a little bit harder than I'd like to see them hit, but it's just minor adjustments," said Johnson, who gave up two other hits in an inning of work. "I'm not using air or any excuses, I want to work ahead, strike one, and throw a lot of fastballs, and I did that."

Jane Lee is a reporter for Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.