Millwood Contemplating 2012

Kevin Millwood continues to make his case for being part of the Rockies' 2012 rotation, a surprising development considering he was ready to retire in early August.

It remains to be seen whether Millwood, 36, will be pitching for Colorado next season. One of the team's paramount needs in the offseason is to find a veteran starter. That very well could be Millwood, who made his seventh start for the Rockies on Wednesday and was solid again in their 6-2 win over the Brewers, Colorado's first win in five games at Miller Park this season.

In all likelihood, Millwood will be invited to spring training as a non-roster player and have to pitch his way onto the Opening Day roster.

When Jim Tracy was asked if he could conceive of Millwood being in spring training with the team, the manager said, "Yeah, I could. We're talking about a guy still throwing the ball 90-91 (mph). Believe me, if you throw 90 or 91 and can locate it ... why couldn't you still win some games?"

Millwood held the Brewers to four hits and two runs in six innings. He's 3-2 with a 3.68 ERA overall, 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA in four starts on the road.

Is this a final walk in the twilight, a veteran pitcher going out of the game with competitive dignity? Or might this audition, which could reach nine starts, lead to work in 2012?

"I'm kind of wondering the same thing," Millwood said. "Hopefully, it leads to a job."

Millwood got nine groundball outs in six innings against the Brewers. He issued two walks, the most he has allowed in any of his starts with the Rockies. He had allowed four walks in his previous 38 innings and no walks in 12 2/3 innings in his past two starts.

His two strikeouts gave Millwood a career total of 1,969 and moved him into 72nd place all-time, passing Kenny Rogers (1,968).

Millwood spent the early part of the season pitching in the minors, first in the Yankees organization, then in the Red Sox organization. In early August, he was on his way home to Georgia, figuring after a 15-start stay at Boston's Class AAA Pawtucket affiliate, there was no need to linger there because he wasn't going to get back to the big leagues.

Millwood was prepared to retire, but on Aug. 5, Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasio suffered a broken neck when he was hit in the head with a line drive. Colorado, needing a starting pitcher and not having any good options at Class AAA, called Millwood and, it turned out, prolonged his career.

"I'd finally come to terms with it being over," Millwood said. "I was OK with that. I don't feel that way anymore. I feel like I could help this team a little bit."

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