Miller looking to add weight for increased durability

Miller looking to add weight for increased durability

JUPITER, Fla. -- Two years ago, Shelby Miller reported to camp noticeably trimmer, the loss in weight a byproduct of a misdirected offseason conditioning program. He corrected his training the following offseason and rode that to a spot in the Cardinals' rotation.

Now, he's looking to pack on a few more pounds.

Intent on building his body so that it can handle the workload of a 200-inning pitcher, Miller is trying to add some weight during Spring Training. He'll do so in a healthy manner, of course, with the end goal being increased durability.

"I want to get stronger, be able to pitch more innings, keep that bullpen out of the game as much as possible and be more efficient," Miller said. "I feel like if I'm heavier and more durable, I think that will make it easier and I will perform better."

In the months leading up to camp, Miller followed the same workout regimen he did the previous winter. He saw no reason to make tweaks to that program given the success he had last season. On the heels of that offseason work, Miller came out ahead in the battle for the final starting job and went on to be a finalist for the Rookie of the Year Award.

Don't let his non-usage in October overshadow the strong season Miller had for the Cardinals in 2013, either. He went 15-9 with a 3.06 ERA in 31 starts, striking out 169 and walking 57. Miller logged 173 1/3 regular-season innings and then one more in the postseason. It was a step up from pitching 150 2/3 innings a year prior between Triple-A and the big leagues.

The new benchmark in his sights now is 200. Only two Cardinals pitchers (Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn) reached that figure last season.

"I think I am ready for it," Miller said. "I was only 25 innings away last year. I think I got it."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.