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Milone looking to rebound, earn spot on roster

Lefty had rough season with Twins in 2016
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

PHOENIX -- Veteran left-hander Tommy Milone is healthy again, and his changeup is working. In a bid for a spot on the Brewers' Opening Day roster, those are two of his best assets.

Milone pitched two scoreless innings in Sunday's 9-4 win over the Rockies in his first spring start, part of a bid to push past a challenging 2016 season with the Twins. Milone was saddled with a 5.71 ERA in 19 games (12 starts) while fighting biceps tendinitis.

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PHOENIX -- Veteran left-hander Tommy Milone is healthy again, and his changeup is working. In a bid for a spot on the Brewers' Opening Day roster, those are two of his best assets.

Milone pitched two scoreless innings in Sunday's 9-4 win over the Rockies in his first spring start, part of a bid to push past a challenging 2016 season with the Twins. Milone was saddled with a 5.71 ERA in 19 games (12 starts) while fighting biceps tendinitis.

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"When you come in knowing you need to fight for a spot, it's a little different," Milone said. "You can't kind of work on some things you might want to work on to get ready for the season; you have to hit the ground running when you get here and show them.

"Like in my case. Last year, I didn't have a good year. I have to show them that I'm the same pitcher I was in previous years."

Before his tough 2016, Milone owned a 3.97 ERA in his first five seasons for the Nationals, A's and Twins. The Brewers signed him to a one-year, $1.25 million deal in free agency, giving him a 40-man roster spot and the chance to compete for a spot in either the rotation or the bullpen.

Video: MIN@DET: Milone pitches into 9th, earns win

Milwaukee's field of starting pitching candidates is a crowded one. Junior Guerra and Zach Davies are locks, per manager Craig Counsell, leaving five experienced arms competing for the other positions -- Chase Anderson, Matt Garza, Milone, Jimmy Nelson and Wily Peralta. Milone is the only newcomer to the organization.

Against the Rockies on Sunday, Milone surrendered two hits, but no runs, in two innings, with one strikeout. His second inning was so efficient, Milone was sent to the bullpen for more pitches after Anderson took over to start the third.

"We're working on his changeup, and he feels like his changeup is really back," Counsell said. "That's his pitch. You get that pitch back to being the plus pitch that it's been for him, then I think hopefully we'll see the [effective] version of him."

Milone appreciated the chance to start on Sunday. His previous Cactus League appearance came in relief.

"It's always nice that they're thinking about letting me get a start, especially if they're letting me fight for a spot in the rotation," Milone said. "It's always nice to feel like you're getting that opportunity to get out there and start a game."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Milwaukee Brewers, Tommy Milone