After yet another rough outing on Tuesday, Shelby Miller is fighting his delivery, Diamondbacks Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa said, and a trip to the minor leagues is an option.
La Russa, during Wednesday's weekly visit on the Doug and Wolf show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, said the organization is weighing what is best for the team and what is best for Miller as it looks to help the right-hander regain the form that made him an All-Star last season.
"We have a lot at stake," La Russa said. "Getting Shelby right is important to us. But winning every game that spot (in the rotation) comes up is, too. We're talking about what to do, the combination of what's best for Shelby ... and what's best for our team."
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Miller's woeful start with the D-backs continued in Tuesday's 12-1 loss to the Pirates. He gave up three runs before he retired a batter and needed 107 pitches to get through five innings. He is 1-6 this year and his ERA ballooned to 7.09 -- which is higher than his prior two seasons combined (6.76).
"It's disappointing," Miller said after Tuesday's loss. "I feel I'm obviously a better pitcher than this, but the results just aren't there. I'm not going to quit, though."
La Russa listed three options the team could take:
* Continue to send Miller out every fifth day while working to correct things between starts.
* Send him to the bullpen for a time, like the team did with Rubby De La Rosa earlier this season.
* Option Miller to the minor leagues, where he could hopefully right himself in a much less stressful environment.
"We have some time to think about this," La Russa said, noting Miller next is scheduled to start Sunday's home game against the Padres, "so that's what we're going to do."
Whatever decision the team comes to, La Russa said Miller will be involved in the lead-up discussion.
The way right-handers Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley are pitching at hitter-friendly Triple-A Reno also could play into a decision on Miller. Bradley has a 1.99 ERA, 47 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings and was named the PCL pitcher of the week for last week. Shipley has a 2.98 ERA and threw six shutout innings on three hits on Monday.
La Russa noted Miller has shown small glimpses of being the pitcher the D-backs paid a hefty price to acquire in an offseason trade from the Braves, meaning the ability is still there and leaving La Russa to believe the issue is mental.
"Something mental gets in there and he's fighting it," La Russa said.