PHOENIX -- Shaun Marcum cruised through three innings in his second Cactus League start for the Brewers and showed his teammates what all the fuss was about.

"You hear it, but today you really saw why he's so good," said veteran infielder Craig Counsell. "When he misses, he just misses. He really tempts the hitters."

Marcum, acquired in a December trade with the Blue Jays, allowed two harmless singles and struck out three batters in Saturday's 2-1 win over the Angels -- a marked improvement from his debut on Monday against the Giants, when he worked a perfect first inning but surrendered four hits and two runs in the second.

The right-hander surrendered one-out singles to Peter Bourjos in the first inning and Efren Navarro in the third. He got help in retiring Bourjos to end the third inning when left fielder Ryan Braun made a nice running catch near the warning track.

"I mixed in the cutter today and located those pretty well for the most part," Marcum said. "It was just another step forward in getting ready for the season."

Marcum figures he threw 10 or 11 cutters, and that was a bit of a surprise. He usually sticks to a fastball/changeup combination for his first two or three spring starts, but audibled after seeing an Angels lineup stocked with left-handed hitters. That got the competitive juices flowing.

"You want to get your work in, but you also want to get your three innings in and your 45 pitches, and put up zeroes as well," Marcum said.

Smooth sailing for Saito in Brewers debut

PHOENIX -- Brewers bench coach Jerry Narron has been practicing the Japanese characters for Takashi Saito's name, and he finally put his new skill to use on the lineup card that hung in the clubhouse before Saturday's 2-1 win over the the Angels at Maryvale Baseball Park.

Saito made his unofficial Brewers debut and recorded two outs before exhausting his allotment of pitches. He appreciated Narron's gesture.

"I was very moved by it," Saito said through his translator. "I think everybody would be really surprised, especially because the kanji from my name is a little more difficult."

Throwing fastballs for all but two of his 18 pitches in the fourth inning, Saito walked Angels left fielder Reggie Willits to begin his Brewers career and then retired Alberto Callaspo and Hank Conger on flyouts to right field. Since Saito was scheduled to throw about 15 pitches in his first outing, manager Ron Roenicke opted to go to Minor Leaguer Michael Fiers for the inning's final out.

"I know he can finish the inning," Roenicke said. "There's no reason to pitch him too many pitches today. If he goes out and it's a tough at-bat and he throws six, seven pitches, now we're getting to a place we didn't want to go."

Saito is a key part of the Brewers' bullpen, considering 27-year-old John Axford is entering his first full season as a Major League closer.

Roenicke regularly saw Saito from 2006-08 when he pitched for the Dodgers, the Angels' Interleague rivals. He moved to Boston for '09 and pitched for Atlanta last season, posting a 2.83 ERA in 56 games before a September shoulder injury prematurely ended his season.

Saito felt tight in other areas last year before the shoulder injury set in, so he proceeded very carefully this spring when he developed a sore hamstring and hip. He threw one extra bullpen session on Wednesday before taking the mound in a game.

"Last year I ended the season injured, so I'm just happy I could throw today," said Saito, who indicated he pitched "with no problem at all."

"It wasn't about getting people out," he said. "I wanted to throw my fastball and see how that felt. In terms of that, I was very satisfied."

Saito will take at least two days off before pitching again. He can use the down time to continue getting to know his new teammates.

"They respond to my broken English very well," he said.

Brewers not worried about potential sixth starter

PHOENIX -- The Brewers happily traded back-end depth for front-line talent in their starting rotation, but it led to a "what if" that stumped manager Ron Roenicke on Saturday.

With left-hander Manny Parra out indefinitely with a bad back and right-hander Mark Rogers moving along slowly after some early-spring shoulder stiffness, what if one of the five men in the starting rotation goes down before Opening Day? Who would step in as the so-called sixth starter?

"Do you want me to look at the list?" Roenicke asked, reaching for a roster.

"[Tim] Dillard is there," Roenicke said, referring to the right-hander and longtime Brewers farmhand who radically altered his style to a sidearm sling last year. "[Wily] Peralta is a possibility, even though he's young. [Amaury] Rivas is a possibility."

Peralta is a top pitching prospect, but he is also 21 years old and has made all of eight starts above Class A baseball. Rivas was the team's Minor League pitcher of the year in 2009, but he would have to make a big leap after spending last season at Double-A Huntsville.

Reliever Kameron Loe could be an emergency option, considering he made 47 starts for the Rangers from 2004-07. But Roenicke indicated he plans to leave Loe in the bullpen.

"When he was with Texas, they tried to tinker with what to do with him, starting or relieving. He never found his niche, and I think he's found it in relief," Roenicke said. "I wouldn't want to mess with that."

The Brewers' relatively thin starting ranks are a change from last season, when they entered Spring Training with four established pitchers vying for two rotation spots behind Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and Doug Davis.

That depth didn't translate to success, and the Brewers ranked 15th in the National League in starters' ERA. General manager Doug Melvin spent the winter focused on adding front-line pitching, trading for Shaun Marcum of the Blue Jays and Zack Greinke of the Royals to go with Gallardo, Wolf and Chris Narveson. With all five slots spoken for, some of the veteran, "depth-type" pitchers who have signed in recent weeks showed little interest in Milwaukee.

"I'll take our five starters, and we'll work out the others," Roenicke said.

Last call

Right-hander Pat Egan (hip) is scheduled to throw his first Cactus League inning on Monday, skipper Ron Roenicke said. Left-hander Mitch Stetter, who strained a muscle behind his left shoulder before the start of Spring Training, is about a week away from making his debut. ... Right fielder Corey Hart took fly balls and did some throwing on Saturday as he works back from a rib-cage strain. ... First baseman Prince Fielder was supposed to be off Saturday, but he asked for at-bats as the designated hitter. "I'm glad he asked me," Roenicke said. "Some guys need more, some guys are fine. I want them to let me know." Fielder will play first base behind Zack Greinke against Texas on Sunday with the Brewers in split-squad action.