Miller trying to stay sharp during long layoff

Miller trying to stay sharp during long layoff

Miller trying to stay sharp during long layoff

CHICAGO -- Cardinals starter Shelby Miller won't get another start until after the All-Star break and will be the fourth in line to go, meaning he'll likely get the nod next on July 23 at home against the Philies.

That would be a span of 13 days since his most recent start on July 10 at Busch Stadium against the Astros. The 22-year old Miller has taken losses in three of his past six outings and is trying to see the extended time off in a positive light. He took his regular bullpen prior to Friday afternoon's game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field and said he will also throw side sessions before and after the break.

"The toughest thing is just keeping everything kind of sound, the mechanics," Miller said. "Not pitching for about two weeks is not the easiest thing to do, but I've got a lot of time to work on things and work my way back into the bottom of the zone and work on my offspeed pitches, stuff like that. I think the time is going to benefit me."

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is also hopeful that will be the case. Matheny said Miller's arm strength is fine, but he might be going through a normal rough patch that most pitchers hit during the course of a season.

"It's just a great opportunity," Matheny said. "Rest will be good, but we can moderate it. Work is going to be real important for him right now. He could be a little tired, but I don't think that's it. I think he got to a period during the season that almost everybody gets to and you're just not as sharp. He's still competing and keeping us in games."

Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.