Shelby Miller hit on elbow by line drive, not seriously hurt

ST. LOUIS -- The line drive from Carl Crawford got Shelby Miller square on his right elbow. His pitching elbow.

Four hours later, Miller was talking about wanting to make his next start.

While it's not at all clear that will happen, it does seem clear that Miller and the Cardinals avoided a serious injury that could have damaged their season and possibly ended his. X-rays showed no broken bones, and as Miller prepared to leave Busch Stadium late Wednesday night, his right arm wasn't even wrapped.

"It was a scary situation, but that was probably the best spot it could have hit on my throwing arm," Miller said. "We've all agreed there's a good chance I won't miss any time."

It's still very possible that the Cardinals could have the 22-year-old Miller skip a start or two, particularly since there have been concerns about his innings total. Miller, 11-7 with a 2.89 ERA in 22 starts, has pitched 121 1/3 innings this season.

Miller's injury, which came on the second pitch of what became a 13-4 Dodger win over the Cardinals, caused Cardinals manager Mike Matheny to use Jake Westbrook, his scheduled Thursday starter.

The Cardinals announced later that rookie Carlos Martinez will be called up from Triple-A Memphis to start against the Dodgers Thursday night.

Miller has been one of the best pitchers in the Cardinal rotation, and one of the best rookie pitchers in baseball. The Cardinals had to be worried when Crawford's line drive hit, because at first it looked bad.

"I honestly thought he broke his arm," said Dodger (and former Cardinal) Skip Schumaker.

Fortunately for Miller, the ball struck directly between the two big bones just above the elbow. Even so, Miller said that at first, he had no feeling at all in his right arm.

Later, it wasn't nearly as bad.

"I feel good," he said. "Well, it doesn't feel good, but it's better than it could be."

There's little doubt about that.

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