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2019 Cardinals spring training

Cardinals pitcher Andrew Miller throws warmups in practice on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, at Cardinals spring training at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

JUPITER, Fla. • First baseman Paul Goldschmidt may well be playing this weekend when the Cardinals open their exhibition schedule here against Miami on Saturday and then Washington in their home opener on Sunday. But manager Mike Shildt said he didn’t think lefthander Andrew Miller, the other prominent newcomer, would be pitching in the first couple of games.

“I don’t want to set a date,” said Shildt. “We don’t feel a need based on his experience.”

Shildt said there are many pitchers trying to make the club that he needs to see first. “And then we can ease Andrew into the spring and get him the appropriate amount of work,” Shildt said.

The National League Central Divison is loaded with lefthanded hitters starting with Anthony Rizzo, Joey Votto, Scooter Gennett, Gregory Polanco and reigning Most Valuable Player Christian Yelich. But there are many others in the next tier like Travis Shaw, Jason Heyward, Chris Dickerson, Kyle Schwarber and and Scott Schebler.

Shildt said that certainly was one of the main reasons why Miller was signed to a two-year deal plus an option.

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“Not THE reason but a primary one,” Shildt said Thursday morning. “We knew we needed to be able to equalize and thrwart (all) the lefthanders we’re going to see.  But in our division, there’s two to four or five guys (on every team) you’ve got to game-plan for.

“He’s a huge benefit. I can’t wait to unleash him against some of these guys.”

The club is also being careful with Miller in fielding drills, given the knee problems he had last year. But he has shown this spring there is nothing wrong with his arm and his leg hasn’t acted up either.

Rick Hummel

@cmshhummel on Twitter

rhummel@post-dispatch.com

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