Pitchers took center stage on Thursday in MLB spring training. Former Mississippi State and Wheeler High standout Brandon Woodruff, fresh off agreeing to a $6.8 million contract for 2022, made his Cactus League debut and promptly got knocked around by Arizona. The right-hander, an emergent ace for the Brewers, yielded six hits, a walk and four runs in three innings. “I don’t like to stink,” he said in a published report following the game, while noting that he was working on a new slider. … George County High product Justin Steele started for the Chicago Cubs against the Los Angeles Angels. The first batter he faced was Shohei Ohtani. “I was really looking forward to that, like last night I was thinking about that,” he told NBC Sports Chicago. Left-hander Steele walked Ohtani, walked one more batter in the frame but allowed nothing else in his two innings of work. After making his MLB debut last year, Steele is vying for a job in the rotation in 2022. … Ex-State star Jonathan Holder, in Cubs camp as a non-roster invitee, pitched one inning and gave up a game-winning homer to Taylor Ward. Holder had a 4.38 ERA over five seasons with the New York Yankees but missed virtually all of 2021 with a shoulder problem. … Ole Miss alum James McArthur, a newcomer to Philadelphia’s 40-man roster, worked against Pittsburgh and gave up three hits and a run in 2/3 inning in his second spring outing. … MSU product J.P. France, a non-roster pitcher in Houston’s camp, pitched a scoreless inning against Washington. P.S. Former Ole Miss standout Chris Ellis, recently re-signed as a minor leaguer by Baltimore, has yet to make his spring debut but is looking forward to that opportunity. The right-hander told baltimorebaseball.com he aims to “take care of business and earn my spot back.” He went 1-0 with a 2.15 ERA in seven games last season. … Madison Central High product Spencer Turnbull apparently is headed to salary arbitration with Detroit. The right-hander reportedly asked for $2.1 million for this season, and the team offered $1.325M. The arbitrator will chose one of the two figures. Turnbull threw a no-hitter last season before having Tommy John surgery that could force him to miss all of 2022. He is 11-25, 4.25 over four years with the Tigers.