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Miley looking to rebound after 1st rough start

Non-roster invitee still in mix to make Brewers' Opening Day roster
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- His sparkling Spring Training numbers didn't show it, but Brewers rotation hopeful Wade Miley had been searching for his curveball. He found one Friday -- a really good one -- but somehow left everything else behind.

Miley endured his first Spring Training dud in a 16-13 Brewers win over the Reds at Goodyear Ballpark. He surrendered more hits -- 10 -- in three long innings as Miley had allowed in his first four appearances combined, and was touched for seven runs, all earned.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- His sparkling Spring Training numbers didn't show it, but Brewers rotation hopeful Wade Miley had been searching for his curveball. He found one Friday -- a really good one -- but somehow left everything else behind.

Miley endured his first Spring Training dud in a 16-13 Brewers win over the Reds at Goodyear Ballpark. He surrendered more hits -- 10 -- in three long innings as Miley had allowed in his first four appearances combined, and was touched for seven runs, all earned.

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He'd allowed only five runs (two earned) on nine hits in his previous 13 Cactus League innings, spanning three starts plus one relief appearance.

"Obviously, it's not the best time for this," Miley said. "But at the same time, it's baseball. It's going to happen. I just have to figure out how to minimize them."

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What happened?

"I just didn't finish. They came out hacking, no doubt, but I didn't execute pitches," said Miley, one of the non-roster invitees attempting to make the Brewers' Opening Day roster. "I didn't throw a lot of balls; it just wasn't quality strikes. The only thing that was really good today was the curveball."

That was clear in the first inning, when Miley dropped a curveball into the zone for a called Strike 3 against Joey Votto.

"Maybe I should have just thrown all curveballs," Miley joked.

The Reds scored twice in the first inning, four times in the second and once in the third on a monster home run by Michael Lorenzen, the opposing pitcher.

Miley lamented letting the game "speed up too much."

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"Instead of backing off and executing, I tried to throw it harder," he said. "Harder is straighter, and it found barrels. I was trying to throw 100 mph when I don't have that ability."

He admits to falling into that trap at times last year, when Miley issued a Major League-worst 93 walks while pitching for the Orioles. After hitting free agency, he worked extensively over the winter on mechanical fixes, and hit the ground running after agreeing to his Minor League deal with Milwaukee the same day Brewers pitchers and catchers reported to camp.

Video: MIL@CWS: Miley strikes out four over 3 2/3 innings

That deal has a March 22 "out" date, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, meaning Miley has one more scheduled start before the Brewers have to make a decision about whether he'll make the Opening Day roster, but that doesn't make his next outing a do-or-die affair.

"I wouldn't make it sound like that," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I think you evaluate everything, you evaluate the whole spring. Decisions get made when they have to be made."

'Rough spring' for Barnes

The Brewers were brainstorming ways to help reliever Jacob Barnes find a rhythm after the right-hander issued two more walks and surrendered two earned runs on three hits in one-third of an inning Friday. Barnes has walked five batters and allowed 11 hits in 4 1/3 Cactus League innings.

"We're going to get him on the mound, even on days he's not pitching," Counsell said. "Just get him on the mound during his catch to let him feel the mound a little bit more."

Video: Barnes discusses working to improve this spring

Upcoming back-to-back outings could help. Barnes is one of six relievers ticketed for an eight-man bullpen.

"Jacob has had a little bit of a rough spring, there's no question," Counsell said. "Walks have hurt him. He's fallen behind a lot of hitters. He threw a lot of close pitches today, but they end up being walks because the good hitters are going to take balls on the edges. He's not locked in. It's very similar to last spring, though. He had a very similar spring last year. We'll keep working on it and get him ready for Opening Day."

Injury update

Christian Bethancourt, one of the catchers still in camp, left the game in the ninth inning after he was hit on the left elbow by a pitch. The Brewers don't believe Bethancourt was seriously hurt, Counsell said.

Up next

Brewers starter Zach Davies will make his first Cactus League appearance since March 3 when he starts against the Rockies on Saturday at Maryvale Baseball Park for a 3:05 p.m. start. Davies' last official outing was also against Colorado, but he complained of some left oblique discomfort in the wake of that game and was held out of his next start as a precaution before returning to pitch earlier this week in a Minor League intrasquad game. Davis has said he's back to 100 percent. Fans can follow along via an audio webcast.

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

Milwaukee Brewers, Wade Miley