Marcum sharp in delayed debut for Brewers

Shaun Marcum showed little rust in his delayed debut.

Marcum pitched three scoreless innings and the Milwaukee Brewers

beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-1 Sunday.

”I got away with some but for the most part I located the

fastball where I wanted to,” Marcum said. ”I can’t really do my

normal spring training routine where I focus on my fastball and

changeup and then work everything else in.”

Marcum was kept off the mound for most of the month because of

right shoulder soreness. He only returned to baseball activities in

the last two weeks.

Marcum signed a one-year contract in early February to avoid

arbitration and he said he’d like to remain with the Brewers but

there have been no talks about a long-term contract.

”I’d like to stay but there’s not a whole lot I can do about

it,” said Marcum. ”I love it here. My wife loves it here. I’m not

going to close the door, but if they close the door then it’s

closed.”

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said the club hasn’t looked

quite that far ahead.

”We’ve never really engaged in (talking about) a long-term deal

with him,” Melvin said. ”That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t later on.

I was encouraged by the way he threw the ball today. Having him

healthy is the main thing.”

Marcum retired the first five batters he faced and allowed only

a walk to Trent Oeltjen in the second inning and Jerry Hairston’s

ground single up the middle in the third.

Marcum finished with three strikeouts.

”I’m not going to go out there and push it too much,” Marcum

said. ”The next start I should get to 60 pitches and I’ll be able

to go from there.”

Clayton Kershaw pitched in and out of trouble, allowing two runs

and six hits in six innings with two walks and two strikeouts.

”Physically, this is the best I’ve felt,” Kershaw said.

”Everything felt good but the slider wasn’t where it needs to be.

It’s not where I’d like it to be but hopefully it gets there the

next time.”

Norichika Aoki hit his first home run since signing with

Milwaukee from Japan’s Central League this winter. Rickie Weeks

added an RBI double for Milwaukee.

Brewers closer John Axford struggled again, loading the bases in

the fifth on two walks and a single before escaping with only one

run scoring.

Axford received some help from Kershaw, who tried advancing from

second on a throw home on a sacrifice fly and was thrown out easily

at third.

Hairston was given anti-inflammatory medication after he talked

to team doctors Saturday about feeling the lingering effects of a

shoulder injury sustained in last year’s playoffs. He was reluctant

at first but is happy with the results.

”I feel like me,” Hairston said. ”I’m glad I said something

because I felt a lot better.”

Spring training had been a struggle for Hairston, who committed

five throwing errors in 10 before Saturday.

Hairston was told the shoulder was sound structurally.

NOTES: Dodgers manager Don Mattingly came out of the dugout

after the fifth to interrupt an argument between C A.J. Ellis and

home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez. . Dodgers RHP Ted Lilly has been

scratched from his regular start Wednesday with a stiff neck and

also could miss his first regular-season start April 7. Lilly

skipped a scheduled bullpen session on Saturday and also was off

the field on Sunday. . Milwaukee returned C Mike Rivera to minor

league camp earlier Sunday. . Brewers LF Ryan Braun was given the

day off after playing the past two days. . Most of the contingent

of Japanese reporters covering the Brewers arrived only minutes

before the first pitch after watching Rangers starter Yu Darvish

throw in an intrasquad game 20 miles away in Surprise.