Miley returns from injured list to add depth to Reds bullpen

Veteran pitcher has made four starts this season but has been out with injuries twice

Wade Miley returned from the injured list Wednesday and will help the Cincinnati Reds from the bullpen the rest of the regular season — and beyond if the season continues in the wild-card series next week.

“They just told me to be ready at any moment throughout the game," Miley said. "Late in the game, early in the game, just be ready. Looking forward to it. A little scared right now.”

Miley had been out since Aug. 28 with a strained left shoulder injury. It was his second stint on the injured list. He was out with a groin injury from July 31-Aug. 12. He has made four starts and is 0-3 with a 6.57 ERA.

To make room for him on the roster, the Reds sent catcher Tyler Stephenson to the alternate training site at Prasco Park in Mason.

Miley made one relief appearance in 2011, his rookie year with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and three the next season. Last season, he pitched in relief in Game 3 of the American League Division Series with the Houston Astros, allowing two earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.

“Last year was fun,” Miley said. “The adrenaline got to me way faster than I thought it would. It’s not that I wasn’t ready. I just didn’t understand what it was going to be like. Even in 2012, when I came out, I was the long guy, so I always got a clean inning. They would bring someone else to finish the inning off, and then I knew I would have the next inning. Last year against Tampa, I was just sitting down there watching the game, enjoying the game and the next thing you know I’m jogging out to the mound. I was borderline freaking out. I felt like I was loose. The adrenaline was pumping. Once I settled in and threw that first inning, it was back to normal, but it was definitely different and exciting. I think I’ll be more prepared for that now.”

The Reds signed Miley to a two-year, $15 million contract in December, expecting him to join Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer, Anthony DeSclafani and Tyler Mahle in one of the National League’s best rotations.

Bauer (4-4, 1.80 ERA) has been the team’s ace and is a contender for the Cy Young Award. Castillo (4-5, 2.86) has pitched as well as anyone in the league in September.

DeSclafani (1-2, 7.04) has struggled in seven starts. Mahle (2-2, 3.57) has fared well in nine starts.

Tejay Antone (0-3, 2.94) has started four games for the Reds, and Michael Lorenzen (2-1, 4.45) joined the rotation in recent weeks and pitched well in two starts.

Even without Miley, Reds starters have the third-best ERA (3.49) in the National League. Now he’ll help a bullpen that ranks 12th in the National League (4.45) but has pitched better this month.

Miley said he will do whatever manager David Bell needs as the Reds prepare for a weekend series on the road against the Minnesota Twins. The three games will help decide whether or not the Reds make the playoffs. The Reds entered a series finale Wednesday against the Brewers as one of six National League teams fighting for four remaining playoff spots in the expanded postseason.

“These are must-win games,” Miley said. “We’ve got to play good ball. I’m just going to go out there and pitch and not put too much pressure on myself. I’m not a power guy. I pitch to contact. I’ve got to execute and get as many outs as they need.”

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