PHOENIX -- When Manny Parra takes the mound this spring, he no longer worries about something hurting.
"Now, it's just going out and pitching," said the Milwaukee Brewers' left-handed reliever. "That stuff is not there anymore."
"That stuff" last year included an ailing back, followed by an ongoing elbow issue. When all was said and done, he had missed the entire 2011 major-league season, not to mention eventually undergoing elbow surgery to remove a bone spur.
Parra, 29 -- who started his pro career with the Ogden Raptors -- has shown no residual effects from those maladies this spring. He has looked better each time out, to the point where in essence he claimed the left-handed role in the bullpen when Zach Braddock was optioned to Class AAA Nashville on Thursday.
"Manny is showing us close to that guy that they put in the bullpen two years ago, when he was so good (2.39 ERA in 26 relief appearances)," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's showing a lot of what that was that we didn't have the opportunity to see last year.
"(Pitching coach) Rick (Kranitz ) and I both wanted to see a lot of him, and I think we've seen enough of him now that we're very comfortable with what he brings out there, coming off a really tough year for him, missing basically all of it. We like what we see."
Parra's best outing of the spring came Wednesday in a 7-1 victory over Arizona. He pitched a scoreless ninth inning, putting the side down in order with no difficulty.
"Rick felt like (Wednesday) is the best his delivery has been, and he really liked how the ball came out (of Parra's hand)," said Roenicke. "His velocity is real good again; his 'split' is good; curveball good.
"If Manny's curveball continues like it is right now, a left-hander is not going to hit him. The curveball is really good."
A former starting pitcher, Parra said he had to "snap my mind back into a bullpen mode" after missing the 2011 season. But it has fallen back into place nicely, resulting in a 2.70 ERA in six spring outings.
"It has been fun," said Parra, who also had an advantage over Braddock by having no remaining minor-league options. "My arm feels good; everything is good. Last year this time, I was laying in bed all day and they were working on me. Everything was kind of spasming.
"I feel like it's just been a normal spring training. I think it's been better each time out."