LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As Braves left-hander Mike Minor progresses through the early stages of Spring Training, he is fueled by the confidence he gained when proving to be one of baseball's best pitchers during the second half of the 2012 season.
"It's more of mindset than pitchability or location of pitches or anything like that," Minor said. "It's more of just recognizing situations and learning from it, rather than just being [mad] and thinking it's going to happen every game. Or as soon as something goes wrong, it's going to be a bad outing. That used to be in the back of my mind."
Minor displayed his maturation when he was unfazed by the one-out walk he issued to Torii Hunter in the first inning of Sunday's 6-1 win over the Tigers at Champion Stadium. The walk and Hernan Perez's third-inning single proved to be the only damage incurred by the 25-year-old lefty during his three innings of work.
"I don't think he missed the target today," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I know the second batter of the game, he walked. But other than that, he had all of his pitches working."
Minor was sharper than he was on Tuesday, when he issued a pair of first-inning walks and allowed two runs in his Grapefruit League debut against the Nationals. He recorded three strikeouts against the Tigers and six fly-ball outs.
"They hit a couple good balls to the outfield," Minor said. "But they were caught and they were outs. That's what happens when you put the ball in play rather than walking everybody."
As he compiled a 6.20 ERA through his first 15 starts last year, Minor lacked the confidence to be aggressive in the strike zone. But his mindset changed as he posted a 2.21 ERA in his last 15 starts of the season.