ST. LOUIS — Right-hander Shelby Miller, the St. Louis Cardinals' first-round pick in the 2009 amateur draft, is being treated rudely in his first season at Class AAA Memphis.
Miller, 21, was 9-3 with a 2.70 ERA in 16 starts last season at Class AA Springfield, with 33 walks and 89 strikeouts in 86 2/3 innings. The Cardinals promoted Miller to Springfield after he went 2-3 with a 2.89 ERA in nine starts at high-Class A Palm Beach.
Miller wound up being honored as the Cardinals' Minor-League Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive season, and no one blamed the Cardinals for elevating Miller to Class AAA.
However, Miller's development has stalled with the Redbirds, for whom he is 4-5 with a 5.72 ERA in 13 starts. He has allowed 75 hits, including 14 home runs, in 61 1/3 innings. He has 28 walks and 70 strikeouts and has yielded a .304 opponent's average.
Miller hasn't won since May 15, and in his last five starts, he is 0-4 with a 9.43 ERA, with nine homers allowed in 21 innings.
"That's a big jump," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That Double-A to Triple-A jump is a tough one. He's still a young player. A lot of it has to do with baseball maturity --and just overall maturity.
"Usually, those kind of struggles and trials end up making you better in the long run. He's got a bright future ahead of him if he's paying close attention, taking notes and learning from the things that aren't working for him."
The Cardinals confirmed Tuesday that their first-round selection in the draft last week, Texas A&M right-hander Michael Wacha, has agreed to terms. Wacha was the 19th overall pick, compensation for St. Louis losing Albert Pujols via free agency.
Wacha's signing bonus was not announced, although the recommendation, per terms of the new basic agreement, is $1.9 million. Wacha will be in St. Louis for a physical Wednesday.
Wacha was 9-1 with a 2.06 ERA in 16 starts for the Aggies. He walked 20 and struck out 116 in 113 1/3 innings.
Twenty-eight of the Cardinals' 44 picks in the draft have signed, including supplemental first-round selections Patrick Wisdom, a third baseman from St. Mary's College in California, and Steve Bean, a catcher from Rockwall High in Rockwall, Texas.
Catcher Yadier Molina has slipped from first to second place in National League All-Star Game balloting by fans. Molina, with 1,576,199 votes, trails San Francisco's Buster Posey (1,713,839).
Beltran ranks second in outfielder balloting with 1,782,831 votes, behind only the injured Matt Kemp of Los Angeles (2,589,464). Holliday is sixth among outfielders (951,652).
The injured Lance Berkman (851,373) ranks second in the voting at first base, far behind Cincinnati's Joey Votto (2,108,725). David Freese (1,095,206) is third at third base, trailing New York's David Wright (1,358,992) and San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval (1,103,650).
Shortstop Rafael Furcal (1,183,096) is narrowly second behind Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki (1,200,256).
The All-Star Game is July 10 in Kansas City. In-stadium balloting concludes June 22; online voting continues through June 28.
Garcia skips Andrews
Left-hander Jaime Garcia, who is out for at least two months with tearing in his labrum and rotator cuff, decided against receiving a third opinion on his injury.
Garcia had an appointment Monday with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., but after already being examined by Cardinals physician George Paletta and Dr. Lewis Yocum, Garcia decided the visit with Andrews wasn't necessary.
Garcia said Saturday he was "50-50" on whether he would keep the appointment. Once Paletta's and Yocum's diagnosis agreed, it became a moot point.
Infielder Matt Carpenter is "real close," according to Matheny, to beginning a rehab assignment. Carpenter is recovering from a strained right oblique, but is taking daily batting practice.
The next-closest to returning is second baseman/outfielder Skip Schumaker, who is coming back from a strained right hamstring. Strength and conditioning coach Pete Prinzi watched Schumaker run in the outfield and on the bases before the game Tuesday.
"We still haven't put a time on (his return)," Matheny said. "He's moving forward pretty quick, though. He hasn't had this (injury). It's one of those things you don't want to jump too fast on."