PHOENIX — Jeff Suppan was one of nine pitchers to take the hill last season as a starter for the Milwaukee Brewers.
After an upgrade to Milwaukee’s rotation in the off-season, Suppan is now fighting for a spot in the five-man unit. His outing on Friday may not swing his chances in either direction.
Suppan, who was scheduled to go five innings, struggled early before settling down. He finished with over 70 pitches during a three-inning stint, allowing six hits and five earned runs with three walks and four strikeouts.
After allowing six of the first seven batters he faced to reach base, the right-hander retired eight of his last 11.
“It was my first day throwing all of my pitches and I was pretty pumped up about that,” said Suppan, who allowed four home runs in his last start. “I was amped up and I missed with a lot of pitches.
“It was one of those situations where the adjustments took a little longer. I was happy I was able to come back out and throw some zeros up on the board.”
The 35-year-old’s spring numbers are not pretty. He has an ERA of 9.00 in 12 innings with six home runs allowed to go along with four walks and nine strikeouts.
The other important outing of the game for the Brewers was closer Trevor Hoffman’s first appearance of the spring. He came in for the seventh inning and allowed a run while facing mostly minor leaguers. He allowed two hits, one earned run and a walk.
Anaheim’s Bobby Abreu, who came in hitting .111, homered in the first inning off Suppan, and Juan Rivera added a two-run double off the left-centre field wall.
Kendry Morales also had good day at the plate, reaching base in his first three at-bats, including a fifth-inning home run off of non-roster invitee Chris Smith.
Angels starter Joel Pineiro allowed two earned runs and five hits in four innings with four strikeouts and a walk. Pineiro was jarred by a collision in the first inning when he went to tag Milwaukee’s Jim Edmonds along the first base line. Pineiro had a welt near his right eye where the bridge of Edmonds’ batting helmet connected.
“I know there was no intention,” Pineiro said. “He is a great guy and he was a great leader when we were in St. Louis together.”
Pineiro’s day finished after 64 pitches and a few good sinkers.
“There were a couple of 0-2 pitches there I’d take back, but I was working on a couple of things,” Pineiro said. “But I was in the strike zone and my sinker was working.”
Notes: Milwaukee RHP LaTroy Hawkins has been dealing with shoulder stiffness. Manager Ken Macha said the report from the medical staff was positive and that he should get a bullpen session in the coming days. ... The Brewers sent OF Lorenzo Cain, P Marco Estrada and C Angel Salome to triple-A Nashville. LHP Zach Braddock, RHP Kameron Loe and 1B Steffan Wilson were sent to minor-league camp. It’s brings the roster down to 41. ... The Brewers promoted Joe Koshansky to the roster from minor-league camp.