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Hazen: D-backs’ Miller threw ‘extremely well’ in first rehab start

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Shelby Miller throws to a Los Angeles Dodgers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Shelby Miller took another step closer to returning to the team after Tommy John surgery.

The 27-year-old right-hander threw five innings, allowing one run while striking out eight in his rehab start for Class A Visalia Tuesday evening. Miller had previously made three starts in extended spring training.

D-backs general manager Mike Hazen was impressed with Miller’s velocity in his return to the mound.

“I think we’re looking at a couple more weeks just from a buildup standpoint, we have to get his legs underneath him. He’s just getting out underneath the lights. He’s been pitching in extended (spring training) for a while. We want to make sure that from a stamina point he’s ready to go 90-100 pitches when he comes up here. But he’s throwing the ball extremely well,” Hazen said on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf. 

Miller has been out for more than a year after tearing his UCL in a April 2017 start against the Dodgers.

Hazen guaranteed that Miller will return to the D-backs’ rotation once he returns from injury. The rotation has lost Taijuan Walker and Robbie Ray for extended periods of time.

“We’re intrigued by how he’s done. He’ll obviously have a spot when he comes back when he’s ready to go, but we’re going to make sure we do it right,” said Hazen.

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo announced Miller is travelling back to Phoenix between rehab appearances.

“He’ll do a throwing program tomorrow, bullpen on Saturday. But everything from what I read and got a chance to talk to him last night for a short period of time is exactly where we need him to be,” said Lovullo.

Miller’s tenure in Arizona has been rocky as he’s dealt with injuries and struggles on the mound. Miller performed much better in 2017 compared to 2016, compiling a 2-2 record and a 4.09 ERA in four starts prior to his season-ending UCL tear.

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