Millwood: “I stink in spring training”

Kevin Millwood broke the news to Orioles pitching coach Rick Kranitz after tonight’s start. Just a little heads-up, in case Kranitz was wondering.

The numbers aren’t going to be pretty. Look past them.

Kranitz didn’t need the warning. This isn’t his first rodeo.

“I stink in spring training. I’m not a good spring training pitcher,” Millwood said after allowing five runs in 2 2/3 innings. “I don’t try to win any awards in spring training. I try to get myself ready, and so far it’s worked pretty good for me. That’s what I’m doing.

“I told Kranny tonight, ‘I just wanted to let you know I stink in spring training, so don’t think too much into it.’ And he sees the same things I see. It’s getting a little bit better every day and I’m right on track.”

The results will matter more to Millwood as we draw closer to Opening Day.

“Late in spring, especially the last start, you want to be ready to go, you want everything to be where you want it,” he said. “I want my fastball, my slider and my curveball to be where I want it, and if my changeup’s close behind, I’ll be happy.

“First couple years, you don’t have the luxury of working on things. You’ve got to make the team and it’s a little more stressful and you have to get people out every time. Now it’s a little bit different. I’m pretty sure I’m going to make the team.

“I just want to get myself ready where I give this team the best chance to win come Opening Day.”

Comparing tonight’s start to his first one, Millwood said, “I felt better. Physically I’ve been fine both times out. Mechanically I felt like I gained some ground today, and that’s really all I’m looking for right now, just to get a little bit better every time out and get my pitch count up.”

Millwood checked all his pitches tonight to see what he needed to work on, “and everything seemed to be a little better than last time,” he said. “My location was a little bit better. I didn’t throw many breaking balls last time, but the sliders I threw today were good. I threw a couple good curveballs, a couple not so good. All in all, I feel good about where I am compared to last time.”

Fans won’t feel good about that 29.70 ERA.

“I’m not trying to win any awards down here,” he said. “I’m not worried about my numbers. I’m worried about getting better every day, and I feel like that’s what’s happening.

“I hope they won’t read too much into it, and if they do, hopefully I can change their mind come Opening Day.”

Meanwhile, Koji Uehara struck out two in another perfect inning, but David Hernandez allowed a run in the seventh. The Twins have runners on second and third with one out and are looking to build on a 6-1 lead as it starts to rain again.

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