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Lohse on making solid spring debut for Brewers

Who needs a Spring Training that lasts longer than a month and a half?

Not Milwaukee right-hander Kyle Lohse.

At least that's what he's trying to prove when he takes the hill Friday for the first of three games against the D-backs at Miller Park. Lohse signed with the Brewers in the final week of March after spending much of the spring working out on his own and tossing simulated games.

"I did everything in my control to get ready for this," Lohse said. "I went out there and threw to college kids, and I know it's not the same as big league competition, but I was out there doing the same things I would always do to get ready."

D-backs left-hander Wade Miley, who takes the ball opposite Lohse, also had an abbreviated spring. He suffered from a dead arm in early March that limited him to just 13 1/3 Cactus League innings.

Miley exceeded all expectations in 2012 with a season worthy of his runner-up finish in the National League Rookie of the Year Award voting behind Bryce Harper. Miley went 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA in 32 games (29 starts).

Is he worried about a sophomore slump? Not at all. In fact, for those who know Miley, they know he's not worried about much, other than the next batter.

"Why think about that?" he said during Spring Training. "That's my answer. Why even put more pressure on yourself? I just want to go out and pitch. I'm not going to try and do what I did last year. I'm going to go out and pitch and try to help my team win every five days. I'm just going to pitch like I've done my whole life."

Miley's D-backs are lucky enough to get an off-day Thursday following their thrilling 16-inning victory over the Cardinals. Cliff Pennington's RBI single finished the contest, which took more than five and a half hours and saw Arizona use seven of its pitchers, including long reliever Josh Collmenter for five innings.

It's unclear whether Miley will be on a shorter leash, given his lack of significant spring innings. But it's almost certain Lohse will be.

"It really depends on how easy he's getting through innings," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "If he's getting through innings pretty easy, we'll let him go a ways. If he's struggling, we're not going to go long with him."

One of the biggest question marks this Spring Training this season was where Lohse would land. The right-hander led the National League with an .842 winning percentage last season with a 2.86 ERA. Lohse eventually landed with Milwaukee for three years and $33 million.

As a result of his extended free agency, a light-hearted subtext regarding the importance of Spring Training has emerged. Players often complain that Spring Training starts far too early and lasts longer than necessary.

"I keep telling guys, 'I'm doing this for you,'" Lohse said. "I'm trying to prove Spring Training is way too long."

D-backs: Injured Eaton to take hacks in cage
• During Thursday's off-day, D-backs rookie Adam Eaton will swing in the batting cage for the first time in his recovery from a UCL sprain in his left elbow.

"I know he's excited to do that," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's really champing at the bit."

Eaton still hasn't begun throwing, and his projected return date remains sometime around mid-May. The injury called for his arm to be shut down for a month, but he will not need surgery.

Brewers: Rotating backstops
• Martin Maldonado made his first start of the season at catcher on Wednesday, giving Jonathan Lucroy, the club's regular behind the plate, a bit of rest.

Maldonado, who hit .266 with eight homers in 78 games last season, filled in for Lucroy as he recovered from a broken hand last May.

As for the playing time this season now that both are healthy and with the big league club, Roenicke will assess that on a day-to-day basis.

"It changes all the time, and their production helps that decision," Roenicke said. "If 'Maldy' is swinging the bat like he was last year, he's going to play more than once every week or once every five days. He does such a good job, defensively, that if he's swinging the bat, he's going to be in there more."

Worth noting
• A D-backs victory on Friday would bring them to .500 (26-26) all time in Milwaukee and give them their 50th win against the Brewers (49-55). The two teams split their six meetings last season.

• In 21 career plate appearances against Lohse, Arizona's Eric Chavez is hitting .333 with a .476 on-base percentage and a pair of home runs.

• The Brewers' 107-58 mark at Miller Park since 2011 is the best home record in baseball during that time.

• D-backs outfielder Jason Kubel has hit safely in 13 of his last 15 April games. Comments