Leake efficient, healthy after first spring start

Leake efficient, healthy after first spring start

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds pitcher Mike Leake's first start of the spring was going so quickly, he almost wished for more adversity so he could work more against the White Sox on Friday.

"Luckily, I got into a couple of full counts so I could get more pitches," Leake said.

The most important outcome for Leake's two-inning debut was that he was healthy. His first scheduled start on Sunday was pushed back because of a minor abdomen strain as the club exercised caution.

"If this were in season, I'd probably be pitching through it," Leake said. "It would be stupid to try and work through it in this setting."

Leake gave up one run and two hits, with no walks and one strikeout, while throwing 27 pitches in the Reds' 4-3 loss.

"They were swinging early," Leake said. "I think it was 12 pitches in five batters [in the first inning]. I'd rather them be swinging than me throwing balls."

In the first inning, Leake gave up a leadoff double to Adam Eaton, and Adam Dunn sent Leake's first pitch screaming for a two-out, lined RBI single off third baseman Chris Nelson's glove. In the second, Chicago went down in order with a pair of routine groundouts and a fly out.

Leake said he was able to use his full assortment of pitches in the game.

"You can't really go based off two innings because you're not getting too deep and you're not facing guys multiple times," he said. "You kind of feel like a reliever for the first few outings. But it's in a positive direction. I'm glad to be back on the field."

Leake's next start is scheduled for Wednesday vs. the Rockies in Scottsdale. He did not believe he would be too far behind, if at all, in getting ready for the regular season.

"At some point, I'm sure we'll try to push an extra inning," Leake said. "It wouldn't make sense to try and push three on this one."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.