LAKELAND, Fla. — Despite some poor spring training outings, Alfredo Simon says he was never worried.
"I feel better today," Simon said Monday after allowing one run in six innings in the Detroit Tigers' 4-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
"I just need to get it over the plate and throw my pitches. That's the key. I'm ready for the season now. I am comfortable."
An All-Star last year when he went 15-10 for Cincinnati, Simon had allowed 13 runs in his previous three outings. After leaving the ball up earlier in spring training, he was pleased with his location.
\ "I kept it down today, and if I can keep doing that, I'm ready," Simon said.
Simon gave up five hits, walked three and struck out two. He lowered his ERA to 5.56.
"Simon threw well," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He fell behind too many times, but he was more efficient today. He's ready."
Yoenis Cespedes had two hits, including his fifth home run.
Todd Cunningham and Jace Peterson both had three hits for the Braves, and Christian Bethancourt homered.
Mike Foltynewicz, trying to earn one of the final spots in the Braves' rotation, allowed two runs and five hits in 3 2-3 innings.
"I'm happy with it," said Foltynewicz, who was acquired from Houston during the offseason. "If you take away a couple of those hits, I felt great. I am just trying to be a pitcher now instead of a thrower."
He allowed the long home run to Cespedes, but said he got over it right away.
"In the past I might have become unraveled," he said. "I'm just taking baby steps now."
Nick Markakis went 0 for 3 and is hitless in his last 13 at-bats. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he still has Markakis penciled in for opening day. Markakis is recovering from fusion surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck.
Wandy Rodriguez will make his sixth start, against the Astros. Hoping to make the rotation, Rodriguez allowed one run in his first 13 innings before giving up four over five innings in his last start.