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Cardinals pitching prospect Miller has Carpenter as role model

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Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller throws on the bullpen mound during Cardinals spring training at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. (Chris Lee/Lee News Service) (February 23, 2010)

JUPITER, Fla. -- Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller could not have picked a better role model.

The 19-year-old Miller says he admires Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter and how hard he works.

"He does all the right things. He's always working out and running and busting his butt to be better every day," said Miller, the Cardinals 2009 first-round draft pick. "He's definitely somebody I look up to and somebody I will try to emulate."

The right-handed Miller made his debut in a Cardinals uniform Wednesday against the Nationals. He got the first two batters before allowing a double, a walk and then throwing a wild pitch. He completed the scoreless inning with a strikeout.

Manager Tony La Russa says Miller was impressive in his first outing.

"He's out there for the first time and he could have been a lot shakier than that," La Russa said.

Miller was drafted out of Brownwood (Texas) High School last June with the 19th pick. He pitched just three innings in Quad Cities, allowing two earned runs, after signing a $2.875 million bonus, the second largest in Cardinals history.

At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, he has a fastball consistently around 94 mph and a sinker.

"He has a solid delivery, he's under control of his body and he commands his stuff pretty well for a young age," Carpenter said. "For him it's gaining a process of figuring out how to prepare between starts and how to mentally get strong to get him where he needs to be."

When Miller learned he would be invited to his first big league camp he knew it would be an invaluable experience.

"I just hang back and watch what everybody else does," he said. "It's really laid back. It's not what you would expect it to be. Getting drafted and coming in to a big league camp and not knowing what is going to happen, it was scary. But they make you feel at home, like you belong here."

Miller soon will be returned to the minor league camp and is expected to start the season in Class A. He will take the memory of standing on the mound for the first time while wearing a St. Louis Cardinals uniform.

"I was nervous and excited and everything at the same time," he said. "Just imagine a dream you have in life and finally it was right there in my hands."




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