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D-backs’ Gibson: Wade Miley can build off rookie season

For Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander Wade Miley, his rookie campaign unfolded like a storybook tale.

The D-backs’ southpaw posted a 16-11 record, 3.33 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 2012. Miley also broke all kinds of D-backs’ rookie records, including setting new marks for wins (16), starts (29) and innings pitched (194.2).

But despite tying for the sixth-most wins and compiling the 10th-best ERA in the NL, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson told reporters on Thursday he expects his promising pitcher to build upon his breakout season.

“I think it’s all really the way you think about it. I think he’ll try and improve upon it. I think you go out and you prepare yourself and you try to even get better at that I guess and better at your execution,” Gibson said.

Miley also represented the D-backs at the All-Star Game and finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting to Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper.

Still, Gibson feels there’s quite of a few areas of Miley’s game that could be improved upon moving forward.

“He’s got to become a better fielder, his move has to become better,” Gibson said. “He has to hold runners better, he has to handle the bat better. He’s focused on that.”

While there’s always the possibility Miley could suffer a drop off in production from his rookie season, Gibson doesn’t think his left-hander will fall victim to a sophomore slump.

“I think what last year does is gives him confidence,” Gibson stated. “He knows that he belongs. He knows he can do it and if he gets off to a rough start then we’ll try and help him remain in the process and not the immediate result.”