Knowing that you don’t have to compete for a spot on the team gives you the luxury of working on other pitches in the early weeks of spring training. The results don’t really matter.
Keep that in mind when examining Kevin Millwood’s line today.
Millwood went to his changeup more than usual, and it’s his fourth-best pitch.
“If I can get it to be just a little bit better, it’s only going to help,” he said. “When I’m going fastball-changeup, it’s going to be a hard day. But I got a lot of weak contact and came out feeling OK about it.”
Millwood also gave up some hard hits, and he left the game in the first inning after 30 pitches with the Orioles trailing 6-0.
“I went out just wanting to work on my fastball command and work on my changeup,” he said. “At times, both were good. Sometimes, they hit them even when they were good. Not a whole lot you can do.
“I feel like I was able to throw strikes. They weren’t all quality strikes, but I don’t feel as bad as it looked like out there. I feel like I made some good pitches and felt like I got a little bit better on my changeup, gained a little ground on that. And next time, I’ll work on something else. Hopefully, it won’t go the same way it did today.”
Millwood knows the box score won’t look pretty and fans will be talking about it.
“I’m sure no matter what I say, people are going to worry about it and talk about it, but I use this time to get ready,” he said. “I try to get my pitches to a level where they’re ready for Game 1. If I go out on a day like today and get beat around a little bit working on something, I don’t care. I’m just trying to get ready.”
Millwood understands that he needs to build up innings so his body becomes accustomed to getting up and down four or five times.
“There’s still a lot of time for that,” he said.
Blake Davis led off the fifth with a single and took second on a passed ball, but he was thrown out at third base on Felix Pie’s grounder to short. Matt Angle is pinch-running for Pie, but not because of an injury. It’s OK this time.
The score isn’t OK. Tigers 6, Orioles 1.
Dennis Sarfate gave up a double and single in the fourth, but a double-play ball got him off the hook.