SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Ryan Vogelsong was a bundle of nerves Friday, but not because his spot in the rotation is up for grabs, or because he wanted to impress a team that re-signed him after a rough 2013 season. The veteran right-hander simply wanted to see if his offseason adjustments would pay off.

The early returns were all positive.

Vogelsong threw two scoreless innings in a 4-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Scottsdale Stadium. He hit his spots and sat at 88-90 mph on radar guns behind the plate. That came as a surprise to Vogelsong, who tends to build his velocity month-to-month but never got the heater going a year ago, when he averaged just 89 mph on his fastballs.

"That's a really good sign," he said. "It feels good coming out of my hand, so I guess that's the most important thing."

Manager Bruce Bochy was pleased with the outing, along with short stints by left-handers Madison Bumgarner and Edwin Escobar. Bumgarner pitched two scoreless innings ahead of Vogelsong and said he has little fine-tuning to do before taking the ball on opening day. In Phoenix, Escobar, the organization's top left-handed prospect, struck out one in two perfect innings in a 7-6 loss to the A's.

  • With Brandon Belt on the road, journeyman infielder Mark Minicozzi started at first base at Scottsdale Stadium, adding another chapter to an incredible story of perseverance. When injuries ended his first run with the organization in 2009, Minicozzi played independent league ball in such places as Worcester, Mass., Winnipeg and Nicaragua.


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    "Pretty much wherever I could go play, I would go play," Minicozzi said. "I mean, Nicaragua is pretty out there, man."

    Minicozzi was preparing to head back to Canada in April 2012 when he noticed that the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the Giants' Double-A affiliate, were playing in Reading, Pa., close to his offseason home. He went to visit with his old coaches, and when Minicozzi revealed that he was still playing, he was offered a session in the cage. Minicozzi impressed and within a week he was back playing minor league ball for the Giants.

    Minicozzi, 31, got a one-day cameo in big league camp last spring and hit a pinch-hit homer against the Colorado Rockies. In his first at-bat Friday, he lined a shot over the right field wall.

    "To be here, I can't even describe how awesome it is," he said. "Every day I come to my locker at 6:45 a.m. and I can't stop smiling. You know, I've been a lot of places where you're not smiling."

  • Gary Brown, Belt and Hector Sanchez each had two hits in Phoenix, and Brandon Crawford drove in two runs. The Giants blew a 6-0 lead, the final A's run coming on a Heath Hembree wild pitch in the ninth.

    For more on the Giants, see Alex Pavlovic's Giants Extra blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/Giants.