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Tommy Milone's makes his pitch

Saugus High graduate out to prove he belongs in the Oakland A’s starting rotation

Posted: April 4, 2014 10:35 p.m.
Updated: April 4, 2014 10:35 p.m.

Saugus High School graduate Tommy Milone has worked his way back into the Oakland Athletics' starting rotation.

 

A month before the Major League Baseball season began, Saugus High graduate and Oakland A’s pitcher Tommy Milone saw the numbers game ahead and knew he might be a victim of it.

Late last season, Milone, who was in the team’s starting rotation since Opening Day, was pushed to the minor leagues to make room for highly touted prospect Sonny Gray.

Oakland signed free agent Scott Kazmir in the offseason and had promising starters Jarrod Parker, Dan Straily and A.J. Griffin and Gray penciled in to fill out the rotation for 2014.

A month ago, Milone told The Signal: “As a starting pitcher, you have to go in prepared and be able to take the good with the bad and move on and just forget what happened the year before, no matter if you did good or did bad because it’s a new year. Anything can happen. Guys get hurt all the time. If I’m not the one in the top five rotation by the start of the year, I’ve got to be ready to go in case someone goes down.”

Prophetic.

And now Milone is in the A’s starting rotation to begin 2014.

Parker is out for the season after tearing an elbow ligament and having Tommy John surgery. Griffin started the season on the disabled list with flexor tendinitis.

Based off his experience alone and coupled with a serviceable Spring Training, Milone is in.

This could be a critical season for the Saugus resident in terms of locking in a spot with the A’s.

Because he isn’t a hard-throwing pitcher, and he’s heard this his whole career, Milone seemingly has had prove himself every season.

He’s in his fourth Major League season after the last two spent mostly in the A’s starting rotation.

The 27-year-old left-hander is a career 26-19 with a 3.92 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 64 career games.

Seemingly, those are good numbers for the back-of-the rotation Major League starter. However Milone was inconsistent, or at least he felt that was the impression on him.

That and command issues led to his demotion to Triple-A Sacramento in August.

However, he returned in September and made two solid starts for the American league West champions.

But he was left off the postseason roster.

“At the time I was a little disappointed in myself for allowing it to get to that point,” Milone said of the late season happenings. “Obviously I’m going out there trying to do the best I can. Sometimes it doesn’t go well. Sometimes it goes really well. ... The ultimate thing was I felt, not necessarily I let my team down, but by being sent down you weren’t doing something right to be up there.”

Milone gets his first start of the year this afternoon in Oakland against the Seattle Mariners and one of baseball’s best pitchers in Felix Hernandez.

It’s the first opportunity to show he belongs.

“It’s probably, as much as I want to say it’s the same, it’s a little different mentality,” Milone said of this season. “I have to go in there and work hard. Obviously, that’s not different than any other year. I just have to make sure I stay on top of myself and get better each time I play catch and go in there and pitch in games. I just got to keep moving up instead of backward.”

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