Miller Shows Impressive Heat
Righty hurler shines at Futures Game
St. Louis—The scouting report could have come from anywhere: the scouts in the stands to see the Futures Game, the coach who has been watching him all season or the coordinator touring through low Class A Quad Cities.
But it didn't. It came from one of the few players in the Futures Game younger than Shelby Miller.
"He's electric and throws strikes," said Mike Trout, the highly touted Angels farmhand who has faced Miller in the Midwest League this summer. "When he comes to town we know he's a high-mph guy. Good breaking stuff. He's got a smooth delivery. He's going to be a good pitcher."
The Cardinals want him also to be a healthy pitcher. Keenly aware of the Bermuda Triangle of pitching injuries that tend to swallow arms of Miller's age, the Cardinals are monitoring Miller's innings closely and being conservative with his starts. Miller was removed from the Quad Cities rotation for about a month so that he could throw exclusively side sessions and bullpens. The goal was not only to protect the first-rounder's arm but also have him refine his offspeed pitches so he could put them to better use.
"It's something we're concentrating on, and at the end of the day it's a judgment call on how we use him," team vice president and farm director Jeff Luhnow said. "The injury risk is higher for young pitchers in that 19-, 20-, 21-year-old range. We know that. The data tells us that. And we want to be careful exposing him to the workload."
Miller returned from his working sabbatical and showed instant results. He allowed one run in his first 11 innings, and that came on a homer. He struck out 16, and he found more success with a hard curve playing off that 95 mph heat.
• Adam Ottavino, the Cardinals' first-round pick in 2006, will have shoulder surgery to repair a tear in the labrum, and the timetable for his return is unknown. Ottavino had just gained a foothold as a reliever in the majors when he was slowed by discomfort that he tried pitching through in April.
• The Cardinals believe it will take the clock ticking toward the signing deadline to force movement in negotiations with first-round pick Zach Cox, the Arkansas third baseman taken 25th overall. They were also inching through discussions with outfielder Austin Wilson, a 12th-round pick who has a strong commitment to Stanford.