SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Making his third start of the spring Saturday in competition for a back-end rotation spot, A's right-hander Dan Straily mixed in his slider more against the Rangers, turning in what he called his best outing so far.
The 24-year-old began his day by striking out the side in the first inning, inducing swinging strike threes on sliders from Texas All-Stars Ian Kinsler, Lance Berkman and Adrian Beltre.
"It was fun to see it is still sharp and working for me," Straily said. "It was good to get out there, throw it and see some late movement on it. I was able to get ahead and try to get them sped up with the fastball then slow them down with the slider. It was good."
Straily previously used the pitch sparingly this spring, because he was still trying to build up his arm.
"I didn't want to rush on it, it's not a pitch that I try to throw too often," he said. "I don't want to find myself on the DL because I tried to throw too hard."
The right-hander allowed two runs in the second inning, but only one came earned after Yoenis Cespedes misplayed a ball in left field. Straily settled back down in his final inning of work, retiring the side in order on just five pitches. He credited the quick inning to his offense, which sent up seven batters to the plate in the previous inning to give the pitcher some rest.
"I definitely came out and thought I was throwing a little bit slower, but it was the most effective inning I've had this spring," Straily said. "The long inning gave me the chance to catch my breath. The last thing you want to do is throw 30 pitches, wait for eight pitches, then go right back out there."
On the day, Straily surrendered two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk while striking out three batters over three innings. After he exited the game, Straily tossed another 15 pitches in the bullpen to stretch him out even further.
"He mixed his pitches well, got himself into trouble a couple times, but I thought his stuff was good," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Last year, if he got off to a bad start, it was tough for him to recover. He definitely has the stuff to recover, though. It's just maturity for him."
In his previous two spring appearances, the A's No. 2 prospect as ranked by MLB.com gave up four runs in 3 2/3 combined innings.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.