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Using cut fastball, Paulino has best outing

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Felipe Paulino added a cut fastball to his repertoire and tested it out on Monday afternoon against the Brewers. If early indications mean anything, it'll likely be a part of his future outings, as well.

The right-hander turned in his best outing of the spring, holding Milwaukee scoreless over five innings while scattering two hits and three walks.

"Just to put something on the ball is great," Paulino said. "In the end, I feel great with how everything is coming together right now."

Paulino's numbers have been progressively better over his four Cactus League starts, and his ERA has dropped in that time from 21.60 to 13.50 to 9.72 to 6.08 on Monday. He also struck out four Monday.

"He looked good," manager Robin Ventura said. "When you're throwing that many strikes, he was just letting the defense work for him. It was a feel pitch for him, so he threw fairly well. He was getting ahead. You feel like you can throw strikes and throw that hard, it's a little bit easier on you."

Paulino's arsenal now includes a two-seam fastball, curveball, slider and the cutter, which he worked on with pitching coach Don Cooper and threw it eight times Monday.

"He gives me that confidence, Cooper gives it to me, to let me throw it in the game," Paulino said. "I'm glad with how it's coming. But it's a long season. I want to see how it responds every time. It's something I can add when something is not working I can add it to myself."

One of the few balls the Brewers hit hard off Paulino was Jean Segura's one-out triple in the third inning. But Paulino turned around and got Ryan Braun to pop out to second and struck out cleanup hitter Aramis Ramirez to end the inning and strand Segura.

"I have to give a tip to the guy Segura, he hit it well," Paulino said. "That's baseball, that's the Major Leagues, he made a good swing. Good stuff after that, I made a good pitch to Ramirez. That's the Major Leagues, try to compete. I feel strong with that and I'm a competitive guy, when I get in a spot like I that I do the best I can to put up a zero."

Joey Nowak is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak.
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