Shelby Miller shines in Triple-A start after given week off

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Cardinals prospect Shelby Miller allowed 17 runs in 13 2/3 innings over his first three starts this month at Triple-A Memphis, continuing a run of disappointing results that dates back to mid-May. So St. Louis’ higher-ups decided to skip his next turn in the rotation and instituted a “no-shake rule” to keep him from relying too heavily on his mid-90s fastball.

That strategy seems to have worked wonders.

Miller allowed just one hit — a solo homer — in a five-inning outing Wednesday night at Memphis, striking out eight batters and walking three. The Texas native still has an ugly 5.70 ERA on the year and clearly won’t be ready for the majors as early as the Cards were hoping. But his strikeout rate (10.3 K/9) is still good and he’s certainly capable of getting on a roll.

Miller was the 19th overall pick in the 2009 Amateur Draft. He doesn’t turn 22 years old until October 10.

A.J. Hinch responds to Ken Giles’ negative comments about Astros

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On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:

I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.

While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”

Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.

At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.