Milton finished strong and got two outs in the fourth before leaving with 70 pitches thrown. Although he had arthroscopic elbow surgery in September, he's reported being pain-free for most of camp."It's good to get extended," Milton said. "For me, I've been feeling so much better every time out. Today [warming up] in the bullpen, everything was right there. In the first couple of innings, it was pretty sharp. If I can go out there, and just feel better and stronger each time out, it's a good sign." Tight race: Barring the unexpected, lefty relievers Mike Stanton, Bill Bray and Rheal Cormier and right-handers David Weathers and Todd Coffey are locks for the Reds bullpen. With five spots taken, that leaves several pitcher to fight over one, maybe two, spots remaining -- the number depending on if the Reds carry 11 or 12 pitchers. Brian Meadows, Dustin Hermanson, Kerry Ligtenberg, Brad Salmon, Brian Shackelford are among the candidates. No one is making the decision very easy. "The thing I really like this spring is guys are throwing strikes and pitching ahead and not beating themselves," Narron said before the game. "There aren't a lot of guys going out there and walking the first hitter." In the eighth inning on Sunday, Salmon worked himself into a bases loaded jam and Shackelford let all three inherited runners score and Pittsburgh took an 8-6 lead. After the Reds came back in the bottom of the eighth, Meadows earned the save with a scoreless ninth inning. Timing is everything: It was tough day for Shackelford. Besides giving up the three runs in the eighth, he contributed to two defensive mistakes on one play. After two Pirates scored on Nyjer Morgan's base hit, Hopper's throw sailed wide of home plate for an error. Shackelford's bad throw in an ensuing rundown between home and third base was also ruled an error, even though the runner appeared to go out of the base line. "If Shack would have been backing up home like he was supposed to, it wouldn't have happened anyway," Narron said. "We worked on rundowns this morning." Coming up: Fighting for the rotation's fifth spot, Matt Belisle will get a start against the Blue Jays at 1:05 p.m. ET Monday in Sarasota. Hermanson is slated to see action from the bullpen for the second time this spring. Gustavo Chacin is Toronto's scheduled starter.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less