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Woodruff continues making case for rotation

Vogt's shoulder progressing; Aguilar hits homer vs. Rangers
MLB.com @RichardJustice

PHOENIX -- Brandon Woodruff made a solid statement for a spot in the Brewers rotation Tuesday afternoon with a four-inning start in a 4-3 victory over the Rangers.

Woodruff mixed in his new curveball even as he struggled with command of his other stuff. He allowed one earned run and is doing his best to make the Brewers' decision tough.

PHOENIX -- Brandon Woodruff made a solid statement for a spot in the Brewers rotation Tuesday afternoon with a four-inning start in a 4-3 victory over the Rangers.

Woodruff mixed in his new curveball even as he struggled with command of his other stuff. He allowed one earned run and is doing his best to make the Brewers' decision tough.

Video: TEX@MIL: Counsell on Woodruff's strong outing

"You can't think about it," Woodruff said. "You come out, play baseball, have fun and everything will take care of itself."

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MLB Pipeline ranks him the Brewers No. 3 prospect and No. 96 on the Top 100 prospects list. He made eight starts for the Brewers between August and September last season.

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"I was throwing everything, mixed in a couple of curveballs," Woodruff said. "I didn't think my stuff was that good, and it took me until about that fourth inning to really to get in groove and get everything over for a strike."

Vogt continues progressing
Catcher Stephen Vogt was to seek a second opinion on a strained right shoulder that is threatening his availability for Opening Day. He attempted to resume throwing drills on Monday but had enough soreness that the Brewers shut him down again.

"I'm going in the right direction," Vogt said. "It's just not there yet. The pain was better than it was two weeks ago. It's just not ready to throw yet. I'm going to go get another doctor's eyes on it and see if he has any other ideas.

"If I had to tell you it was a 10 out of 10 pain two weeks ago, we're at about a four out of 10 now. We're definitely headed in the right direction. It just needs more time to heal before we try throwing again."

Video: Vogt continues to be sidelined by shoulder soreness

Vogt said the original diagnosis was that he would be sidelined anywhere from two to six weeks. After two weeks, he has had some progress, but not enough. Complicating his status is a non-guaranteed $3 million contract that could force a decision.

"That stuff's out of my control," Vogt said. "That's their decision. They have to do what they feel is best for this team, what's best to win in 2018. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to show the improvements I made this winter with the injury. Obviously, they have a decision to make, and I can't control that."

Vogt is penciled in to back up starter Manny Pina, with Jett Bandy and Christian Bethancourt next on the depth chart. The Brewers will likely keep two catchers to start the season.

Camp battle
First baseman Jesus Aguilar, fighting for one of the final position player spots, hit a two-run home run off Matt Bush in the seventh inning. It was his second of the spring.

"He's facing a pretty good reliever there and got a fastball in the zone," Counsell said. "That's something he's really good at. He can hit. He's proven he's a Major League hitter."

Video: TEX@MIL: Aguilar belts two-run home run

Injury updates
Closer Corey Knebel followed Woodruff with a one-inning stint that eased any fears that his left knee was a problem. He removed himself in the middle of an inning on Saturday after a flareup of tendinitis he has dealt with for years. On Tuesday, he allowed a two-out run on a walk, stolen base and single, but he got his second strikeout to end the inning.

"When Corey gave up the run, I loved how it upset him a little bit, and the next hitter, I thought there was some intent to what he was doing," Counsell said. "It's very difficult to replicate the emotional situations Corey faces during games in Spring Training. I thought giving up a run kind of brought a little bit of that out, and it was good to see."

Video: TEX@MIL: Knebel strikes out Hood

Worth noting
Lorenzo Cain got two more hits on Tuesday, including an RBI double, and is batting .481 for the spring.

Video: TEX@MIL: Cain rips RBI double to right center

Ji-Man Choi doubled and scored in the bottom of the fifth and is hitting .440 in his quest for a potential bench role with the Brewers.

• Non-roster invitee outfielder Kyle Wren had another nice day with a single in his only at-bat and a diving catch in right field in the ninth.

Video: TEX@MIL: Wren makes nice diving catch

Up next
Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin makes his fourth Cactus League start on Wednesday afternoon against the White Sox at Maryvale. Right-hander Carson Fulmer is scheduled to start for the White Sox. First pitch is at 3:05 p.m. CT, and the game can be heard on an exclusive webcast on brewers.com.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Milwaukee Brewers, Brandon Woodruff