It wasn’t the prettiest outing, but Shelby Miller was awarded a victory Saturday in his 2013 regular season debut against the Giants — a 6-3 Cards win.
The talented 22-year-old righty went 5 1/3 innings, yielding two earned runs on four hits and four walks. He struck out four batters, tossing 57 of his 95 pitches for strikes before giving way to the Cardinals bullpen in the sixth inning. Randy Choate finished that frame and Mitchell Boggs eventually closed it out with a clean ninth inning, earning his first save.
Miller boasts a power fastball and improving offspeed stuff. He’s been ranked a Top 15 prospect by Baseball America for the past three years and has to be considered an early NL Rookie of the Year candidate.
The Cardinals are 2-3 on the season. They’ll wrap up their weekend series with the Giants on Sunday.
Miller owns a 1.89 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 20/8 K/BB ratio through his first 19 career big league innings.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.