Heilman's quest for rotation spot continues

Heilman's quest for rotation spot continues

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Aaron Heilman continued his quest to win a rotation spot with 5 1/3 innings of work Tuesday afternoon against the Indians.

The right-hander, who has not started a Major League game since 2005, is battling with Joe Saunders and Armando Galarraga for the final two spots in the rotation. He allowed four runs on five hits Tuesday, while walking two and fanning five.

"I was throwing a lot of balls for strikes, getting ahead of hitters for the most part, keeping the ball down," Heilman said. "I made a few mistakes, but other than that I felt good."

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Said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson: "He pitched good until he got tired and started missing location in the fifth inning and got himself in trouble, got a couple of balls up."

Heilman has a 5.24 ERA in six starts this spring. He said he thought his chances of winning a rotation spot were still good.

"There have been a few games where I haven't thrown the ball where I wanted to, but I felt like I've made some improvement, made some adjustments," he said. "I feel like I'm able to command the ball in the zone and go out there and give us a chance to win."