Shelby Miller grew up in Brownwood, which he said is Texas Rangers territory in the Lone Star State battle for MLB supremacy.
But that doesn’t mean there weren’t Houston Astros fans in the town nearly three hours away from Globe Life Park.
“I actually was an Astros fans,” Miller admitted Monday. “My dad’s from a little town called Eagle Lake, Texas, which is right outside of Houston. I was kind of born into it. I didn’t really have a choice.”
Miller will make his Rangers debut Tuesday night against his favorite team growing up, and it will be a big deal for his family and friends who will be in attendance. It will also be a big deal for Miller to pitch for his what he considers his hometown team and pitch healthy for the first time in a few seasons.
“I think it’s awesome because my family is going to be here,” Miller said. “Just them being able to drive two hours to see me pitch is something special that I haven’t had in the past. This ballpark and pitching around fans I grew up with is something near and dear to my heart.”
He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017 but pitched only briefly last summer before his elbow started barking again. The results of his four starts (0-4, 11.40 ERA) with the Arizona Diamondbacks suggested something wasn’t quite right.
But Miller said that he feels on track after a full off-season and spring. Among his goals in his Rangers debut is to leave the mound without any physical issues.
“More important for me is health since I’ve been hurt the past few years,” Miller said. “Getting out of there healthy is a goal. Just going out there and having fun and getting back to my old ways and trying to get guys out as fast as possible is the main goal.
“Even in spring training, being healthy through all of that, I had a little hump I had to get over with my arm. But I feel as healthy as I ever have.”