There’s no denying that Wade Miley had a magical rookie season for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The left-hander won 16 games, represented the D-backs in the All-Star Game in Kansas City and finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting.
But like any other player, Miley is using spring training to knock off the rust that accumulated over the winter.
That process continued Thursday when Miley made his second Cactus League start in a 4-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in Maryvale. Miley pitched two scoreless innings, while walking two and striking out two.
“I felt pretty good,” he said following the start. “Second inning was a little longer than I wanted, I got a little erratic, but overall not bad.”
The second inning consisted of 31 pitches, which changed manager Kirk Gibson’s plan to throw Miley for three innings against the Brewers.
“I threw a lot of pitches in the second inning, a lot of 3-2 counts and a bunch of foul balls over and over again,” Miley said. “But I was excited to get back on the mound again and kind of have a positive outing coming off last week.”
So what was the issue in the second inning?
“I just started fighting myself. I think I got a little quick in the second inning and the ball was up, struggling with the strike zone,” Miley said. “That’s going to happen but I gotta be able to feel that and adjust a little quicker.”
Miley’s also using the spring to work on a pitch that wasn’t a very big part of his repertoire a year ago.
“I threw a couple curveballs that I was kind of happy with for strikes, located a whole lot better, more down in the zone. I’m really happy with the curveballs; it’s kind of what I wanted to work on this spring, being able to throw that for strikes. I flipped a couple in there.”
According to Fangraphs.com, Miley threw the curve only 1.3 percent of the time in 2012.
Miley, who’s been pegged as the third starter in Arizona’s rotation by Gibson, has a simple goal for the remaining starts he’ll have during the exhibition season.
“Just get comfortable again,” he said. “Just knocking the dust off and continue to do that until April gets here and you’re ready to go out.”