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Milone has dominating start in audition for rotation

Milone has dominating start in audition for rotation

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tommy Milone put together his best performance of the spring on Saturday, and it couldn't have come at a better time.

The lefty has been auditioning for a rotation spot all spring, but it wasn't until Friday, when the A's revealed they're likely to start the season without starters Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin, did it become a realistic scenario.

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All Milone did Saturday was throw five scoreless innings against the host Giants, giving up three hits and two walks with two strikeouts along the way.

"I worked in the two-seamer a lot more today and felt I was getting a lot of ground balls with it," said Milone, who added the pitch to his repertoire this spring. "I was keeping it low in the zone, so that was good. Keep them on the ground was basically what I was trying to do. It kind of complements my changeup, I think. I can kind of feed off both of them, depending on which one's working that day."

The pitch has given Milone added confidence in his quest to rejoin the rotation. He realizes his window of opportunity has widened, in the wake of his teammates' injuries, but he isn't about to take that for granted.

"I still have to go out there and compete," he said. "I have to throw the ball well and give them a reason to put me in the rotation.

"When two guys go down, it's not ideal, but I think as a team, we're grateful for the depth that we have. We feel like we have multiple candidates that can do the job."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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