Wade Miley was just happy to be in the majors when he broke camp as the Arizona Diamondbacks' long reliever.
"I didn't care if I was the bullpen catcher," he said about making the team out of spring.
How things have changed.
Could he be an All-Star this summer?
Miley has developed into a key component in the rotation after an injury created an opening in late April, and he has made seven quality stats since, including in five of his last six.
He had everything but his mojo working Wednesday, when a career-high eight strikeouts were not enough to prevent a 1-0 loss to Texas. The Rangers scored on a walk, a sacrifice and a hard groundball single by Craig Gentry that ate up third baseman Ryan Roberts in the eighth inning. The D-backs got only two runners as far as second base against Rangers starter Matt Harrison and two relievers.
"It was a tough one for sure. I made a mistake out over the middle of the plate (to Gentry). I knew they were going to be aggressive with a runner on second base," Miley said.
Miley gave three hits and walked one in 7 2/3 innings, and he got six of his strikeouts on low sliders, some of which the Rangers could not hold back on even though the pitches bounded in the dirt as they reached the plate.
"I felt like it was working pretty good. I was able to keep it down in the zone," Miley said.
At 30-32, the D-backs do not have a plethora of All-Star candidates, and Miley might be the top contender. He is 7-3 with a 2.39 ERA, and he is tied with Texas right-hander Yu Darvish for the most victories by a major league rookie. His 1.04 walks-plus-hits-per-inning-pitched ratio is ninth in the NL, virtually tied with Washington right-hander Stephen Strasburg.
He refuses to pay much attention to the talk that is building.
"I just try not to think about that too much. Just stay focused on what we're trying to do as a team, and we'll go from there," he said.