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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cardinals Notes: Shelby Miller Dealt with Shoulder Soreness


By on 12/31/2013 03:00:00 PM

During the 2013 post-season, the St. Louis Cardinals rarely used breakout rookie starter Shelby Miller.  Instead, Michael Wacha carried the load in the playoffs and helped bring his team to the World Series.  Despite Wacha's excellent performance, many wondered why Miller wasn't given more of a chance in October, as he made only one appearance.  The young rookie made it known he would have liked to pitch more, and even insisted he was healthy, but it appears we may finally have an answer as to why he didn't get that chance.  Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold spoke in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch chat with fans and was questioned about Shelby Miller and if the team is down on him.  Goold replied revealing some interesting news:
I don't get that sense. You're judging a team's opinion of a pitcher based on usage only in October -- after one of them had pitched an entire season [Miller] and was dealing with a shoulder soreness at the beginning of September that he revealed to the team and the other [Wacha] was protected all season long to be available for those innings in October.
This injury news certainly goes against what Miller said after the World Series ended, when he claimed he was fully healthy.  He had a strong season for the Cardinals, but this would be a legitimate reason for why he wasn't a big part of their plans during the post-season.  The team was also wary of his innings count.

Despite having some right shoulder soreness in late February and early March last year during camp, there is nothing to suggest that Miller's injury is a serious one.  His fastball velocity appeared to stay consistent throughout the season, although the 23-year-old did struggle some in the second half, when he allowed walks and home runs to occur at a higher rate.  But this could be general fatigue for a rookie pitcher making it through the grind of his first MLB season.

Shelby Miller finished with a 3.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 169 strikeouts in 173.1 innings last season.  He is expected to be a key part of the St. Louis Cardinals starting rotation.


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