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Tommy Milone makes a bid to become Twins fifth starter

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Tommy Milone threw three scoreless innings during his second start of the spring in the Twins 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

It was Milone's second strong performance of the spring and strengthens his position to become the Twins fifth starter in the rotation. Milone is competing against prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May and veteran Mike Pelfrey for one spot in the rotation.

Wednesday he made his strongest case for the position yet, as he held Tampa Bay to three hits and struck out three. The Star Tribune notes that Milone has now opened the spring with five scoreless innings.

Milone opened the game with a pair of strikeouts, then got a big one in the third inning to help him get out of a jam.

"Every time you go out there, you want to pitch to the best of your abilities," Milone told reporters on Wednesday. "It isn't anything new or different. I just go out there and do what I do and not worry about the things I can't control."

The Twins other four projected starters – Phil Hughes, Ervin Santana, Ricky Nolasco and Kyle Gibson – are all right-handed, and Milone may have an advantage as he's the only lefty in the competition.

According to the Pioneer Press, Twins manager Paul Molitor said there would be advantages to having a lefty in the rotation, but he isn't ready to commit to anyone just yet.

"I thought it was another good day," said Molitor told the newspaper. "He's using his fastball plenty for a guy who is throwing 86-87 (mph). And his deception is good enough, and his command of the off-speed pitches so far in his first couple outings is where he's been effective."

In 21 innings with the Twins after he was traded to the team last season, Milone posted a 7.06 ERA. In four seasons, he's 32-23 with a 3.98 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.

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