Parra pleased with washed-out appearance

Parra pleased with washed-out appearance

Parra pleased with washed-out appearance
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The most important outing of Manny Parra's spring, a "breakthrough," as he called it, doesn't even appear in the record books.

Parra pitched a 1-2-3 fourth inning against a split squad of Rangers on Sunday at Maryvale Baseball Park just before a blanket of rain sent both teams running for the clubhouses. The game, and its Cactus League statistics, were washed out.

But don't tell Parra the outing didn't count.

"I hope that outing was a breakthrough for me, because I wasn't trying to light up the radar gun or anything," the left-handed Brewers bullpen hopeful said. "I was just letting my two-seamer work. I got three ground balls and was out of there. That's what I was hoping to do."

Parra is coming back from a 2011 season lost to a sprained elbow. He's long pitched as a power left-hander, capable of hitting 94-95 mph with his four-seam fastball, but Sunday, pitching against a tough Texas lineup with a stiff wind blowing out, marked a shift in mindset.

"Definitely," he said. "I've been trying to do that for a long time, and this was the first time I did it. I wasn't trying to get a fastball by a guy. I was locating it and letting it move.

"I know they were trying to get the ball in the air and they couldn't do it. That's what made me feel so good." Parra has allowed two runs in six official Cactus League innings so far. He was scheduled to throw on the side Tuesday and will pitch as many as three innings in a Minor League game on Thursday's off-day.

He is among a dwindling group of bullpen candidates. Others include left-hander Zack Braddock, who remained sidelined Tuesday by a high-right hamstring strain, and right-handers Tim Dillard and Mike McClendon.

"I know 95 [mph] is still there if I need it," Parra said, "but that might not be the best thing for me. Just raring back and throwing it, that doesn't always work."