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Diamondbacks’ Miller talks differences from this season to last

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller (26) throws against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
LISTEN: Shelby Miller, D-backs pitcher

Arizona Diamondbacks right-handed pitcher Shelby Miller worked hard in the offseason to rebound from a tough 2016, and it looks to be paying off.

After posting a 3-12 record and a 6.15 ERA in his first season with the D-backs, Miller has looked stronger to start 2017, going 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA.

Appearing on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Bickley and Marotta, Miller cited training with a company named EXOS at their Dallas facility as a key part of his offseason.

“I really just busted my butt in the gym there and ate really well and did all the things I needed to do to get as strong as possible,” Miller said. “Since then, I’ve been holding up real well and been doing the same things I’ve been doing the whole time.”

Miller’s game against the Padres Tuesday showed the degree of his progress. He pitched 7.1 innings, giving up only four hits and one run while striking out five.

The D-backs hope that Miller can keep up this level of play. Arizona paid quite the haul to get Miller from the Atlanta Braves on Dec. 9, 2015. The D-backs gave up outfielder Ender Inciarte, right-hander Aaron Blair and shortstop Dansby Swanson, the first overall pick in the 2015 draft, for Miller.

The perception that he wasn’t worth what the team gave up isn’t what drove him.

“It wasn’t who I got traded for,” Miller said. “I think the biggest thing was for me, I just knew how bad I was performing. It was hard to deal with. I’ve never struggled like that in my entire life.”

With a career ERA of 3.66, this season’s version of Miller looks much more like the one the D-backs saw in his four seasons prior to joining Arizona.

Miller’s offseason training has also helped him pick up his velocity. He credits both his increased strength and refined mechanics for helping him in that area, calling it “a huge weapon” for him on the mound.

Just as Miller has looked better in 2017, so has the club. The D-backs disappointed last year with a 69-93 record. Despite trading for Miller and signing Zack Greinke, the D-backs posted the worst team ERA in baseball at 5.09. This season, Arizona is ninth in ERA at 3.56.

Miller feels the team attitude is better, even in defeats like Arizona’s 1-0 loss to San Diego on Wednesday.

“It’s just the way we go about our business now,” Miller said. “We’re changing it from not trying to lose last year to ‘what can we do to win?’ every single day this year. If we can just stick together, keep this up, I think this brings all of our talents out as a group.”

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