PHOENIX -- As A's second baseman Jemile Weeks chased down his older brother, Rickie, in a first-inning rundown on Tuesday at Maryvale Baseball Park, he had no intention of giving up the baseball."Not a chance," he said after practically tackling the Brewers second baseman as he tagged him out trying to slide head-first back into first base. "That doesn't surprise me at all," Rickie said. "That's just brotherly competition right there." The A's won, 6-0, but Jemile was still beaming after he came out of the game. The two had wrestled with each other many a time as they grew up in central Florida. Rickie is now 29, Jemile is 25. In the past, Rickie usually won. "He usually gets the better of it," Jemile said. "But not today, though, I got him today." The elder Weeks is more concerned about returning from a serious left ankle sprain on July 26 that knocked him out for the rest of the season. With Cactus League play just under way, he's trying to get his legs back under him. "Yeah, he looks good," Jemile said about his brother. "He had a lot of rehab because of his ankle and everything. We worked out together. Obviously, all that work is starting to pay off. He's out there playing. I just hope he can keep it up." Rickie was walked by left-hander Tommy Milone to open the Brewers' half of the first. Milone then picked him off, the ball having been transferred four times before it wound up in Jemile's grasp. Of the play, Weeks said, "a good move [by the pitcher], I guess." Then he was off to the races. "They always say you want to get out of a pickle, but I just try to draw throws. As many throws as I can," Rickie said. A's manager Bob Melvin wasn't enthralled with his club's execution. Too many throws, not enough early pressure. "I didn't love the rundown, but we got the out," Melvin said. "That's the only thing that bothered me a little bit. We just didn't have the timing down. Once 'Weeksie' got it, you could tell he was going after his brother and wanted to tag him. He wanted to end that play right there."
Milone making case to join A's rotation
PHOENIX -- The A's are still in search of three-fifths of their starting rotation and it couldn't be a better situation for Tommy Milone, the young left-hander from USC.Milone was one of four players obtained by the A's on Dec. 23 in the trade that sent Gio Gonzalez to Washington. Right now, he has Brandon McCarthy and Bartolo Colon in front of him with Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson recovering from shoulder and elbow surgeries, respectively. The A's rotation is wide open and that's just the way Milone likes it. "There's definitely a better shot at making this rotation than any other in the Major Leagues right now," he said after the A's prevailed, 6-0, over the Brewers on Tuesday at Maryvale Baseball Park. "I'm glad I'm in that situation. I'm glad I'm here and able to be looking at a spot. I can't complain about the situation I'm in right now. Hopefully it will work out for the best."
Milone faced a formidable top of the Milwaukee lineup in Rickie Weeks, Carlos Gomez, Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez, allowing one hit and striking out three in his three innings of work. In the first, Milone walked Weeks to open the game and then picked him off, with Jemile Weeks, his younger brother, finishing the rundown as Rickie tried to slide head first back into first base.Gomez flied out to center and Braun struck out for the third time in his first three at-bats this spring. Milone, the 25-year-old with five Major League starts last September for the Nationals, was pumped to have gone through the first inning so easily. "It was pretty good, especially to be able to do that for the third out of the inning, to walk off the field," Milone said about whiffing last year's National League MVP. "It felt good, seeing him hit and stuff. That's the first time I ever saw him play in person. I've seen him before only on TV. It was a good feeling to be able get out one of the best hitters in baseball right now." Braun fouled to first in the fourth inning and kind of laughed off how important the first-inning strikeout was to Milone. Braun is 0-for-4 in his first four at-bats of the spring, but it's nothing for him to worry about. "The overwhelming odds are that I'm going to put one in fair territory one of these days," Braun said with a smile. The overwhelming odds are that the A's are going to leave camp with a five-man rotation. But who the last three guys will be right now is anybody's guess. It won't be Braden or Anderson who are in different phases of recovery. Anderson officially threw off a mound the regulation distance to home plate for the first time prior to the game when the team worked out Tuesday morning at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Melvin, beginning his first full year as A's manager, seems content to wait it out. After all, the A's have played only six Cactus League games and Milone has made two appearances. "I haven't changed my opinion of him since the first bullpen I saw him throw," Melvin said about Milone, Washington's 10th-round Draft choice in the 2008 First-Year Player draft. "He mixes his pitches and has great command. He reads swings. He's a very smart pitcher. He's one of those guys. You talk about position players who are great baseball players, he's a baseball player on the mound. He really has a good sense of what he needs to do."
Barry M. Bloom a> is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.