Shelby Miller on his Absence and Return

The St. Louis Cardinals' top prospect took the mound again for the Quad Cities River Bandits Thursday night. We were there to capture Miller's assessment of his outing and details about his three-week absence.

The long-awaited return of Quad Cities River Bandits starting pitcher Shelby Miller occurred on Thursday night at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, Iowa as the home club entertained the Kane County Cougars.

Miller was making his first start since going just 2 2/3 innings against the Burlington Bees on May 29. Since then, the prized right-hander has reportedly been throwing bullpens on his regular schedule while working on his secondary pitches. Not confirmed until now, Miller admitted Thursday that he had felt some elbow discomfort that was deemed after an examination to not be significant.

Prior to the game, Bandits pitching coach Tim Leveque would not comment if Miller would be on a pitch count limit, simply saying, "We will just watch him and decide."

There apparently was a strict count, after all.

Following 2 2/3 innings of scoreless ball on one hit and one walk along with two strikeouts on Thursday, Miller was again lifted. He had thrown 46 pitches and his last offering was his only ball four of the evening.

Along with his patented fastball, the top prospect mixed in breaking pitches including a very good looking curveball. Economy continued to be a problem, however, as his most efficient inning was 13 pitches by my count.

Leveque had this to say about those concerned about Miller. "People forget he is just 19 years old. He's a young pitcher and is learning a lot his first year."

The coach was pleased with Miller's outing, stating after the contest, "Tonight went exactly according to plan. He accomplished all we wanted from him."

Miller has recently been paired with Deryk Hooker in a tandem arrangement after starting the season solo. In a general comment not specific to Miller, the pitching coach remarked that the tandem arrangement "is working very well for us this season" and they have no immediate plans to change it.

In the exclusive audio that follows, Miller discusses his future expectations regarding the piggyback, his last three weeks and much more.


Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Brian pens a column each Wednesday at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and selected TCN content appears at Follow Brian on Twitter.

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