Milone's final spring start solidifies his confidence
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SAN FRANCISCO -- As Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Tommy Milone watched fly balls land safely in the gloves of the outfielders behind him, he realized how happy he was to be back in the Bay Area. He was far away from the desert ballparks in Arizona, where the pitches don't break and the baseballs cut through the dry air with ease.

"Sometimes it gets tough out there in Arizona but it teaches you to try to get them to hit it on the ground," Milone said. "That's what we want to do as pitchers, keep the ball on the ground and not in the air."

Milone tossed 74 pitches over four and two-third innings in his final tune up for the regular season. He allowed two runs on five hits, two walks and struck out five batters.

"I felt pretty ready already but that kind of solidified that confidence, the feeling," Milone said. "Now I feel like I'm ready to get going, ready for the season to start."

Milone tied an Oakland rookie record with 13 wins in 2012. Pitching in front of a sold out crowd of 40,630 provided a regular season feel.

"We were going to cut him back pitch-wise going into his first start," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You could see a much better focus, there was just a little more intensity in the game today."

"I thought he threw the ball well," Melvin added.

The left-handed pitcher slots into the third spot in the A's starting rotation. He will next pitch on Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners at the Oakland Coliseum. Milone ended the spring with a 4.63 ERA in six starts.