PHOENIX — C.J. Wilson took his surgically repaired left elbow for a test drive Saturday, and though things got a little bumpy in the second inning, the overall ride was smooth.
The Angels left-hander gave up two runs and four hits in 1 2/3 innings of a 4-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in Maryvale Park and said after his first exhibition start that “this is the loosest I’ve ever felt arm-wise.” Wilson had surgery to remove bone spurs from the elbow in October.
“If you’re driving around with a flat tire and you put a new tire on, your car will drive a lot better, right?” Wilson said. “I was a little amped up in the first inning, but my arm felt good, and my delivery felt smooth.”
Left fielder Vernon Wells, who is expected to open the season as a reserve, hit his second homer of the spring, a solo shot that sailed far beyond the left-field wall in the second inning, and he walked to load the bases before catcher Hank Conger’s score-tying, two-run single in the sixth.
“He’s made some adjustments, and I liked the walk later in the game,” Manager Mike Scioscia said of Wells. “He’s more than a one-dimensional player. He’s not just a guy who can hit the ball out of the park. It would give us a big lift if he can swing the bat the way he can.”
Reliever Ernesto Frieri, who has been working on a second pitch — a cut fastball and a changeup — to add to his 95-mph fastball, also made his exhibition debut, allowing one single in a scoreless sixth inning.
“He threw some cutters and changeups, and he looked fine,” Scioscia said. “The cutter looks like a legitimate slider with some depth, and his changeup is coming along. His ability to change speeds is going to help him.”
Taylor Green had a two-run double off Wilson in the second, and Rickie Weeks hit a solo homer off Angels right-hander Garrett Richards in the fifth. The Brewers won in the ninth when Rene Tosoni led off with a triple and Kaleb Gindl, with the Angels employing a five-man infield, hit a sacrifice fly to left.