Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller has had a whirlwind year.
A year ago to the day, on May 10, 2017, Miller had Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Then, in September, his grandfather passed away.
“He taught me a lot of things,” Miller said of his grandfather. “Since day one he was somebody who taught me the basics in life and somebody who taught me how to compete and how to accept competition and how to really just become a man. He was somebody I looked up to. Whatever he was doing, I was trying to do. I wanted to be like Papa.”
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I'm gonna miss you old man. You inspired me in so many ways, taught me so much through out my life. Constantly had a smile on my face when I was around you. I'll see you again someday. Moving forward will never be easy without you. I'm gonna make you proud. I love you so damn much #goforbroke #Papa #Legend
On the first anniversary of his surgery, Miller spent time with military veterans at the MANA House in Phoenix giving back to a cause dear to his heart.
Miller’s grandfather is a military veteran. He was a Blue Spader in the United States Army during the Vietnam War.
“Today, not only is it marking one year out of my surgery, but just being here, meeting these guys and for everything it’s for, what these guys (MANA House) do for these veterans to help them get back on their feet is so inspiring and amazing,” Miller said. “I’m just glad to be here to help and put a smile on people’s faces.”
Hearing the veterans stories on Thursday at the MANA House was “eye opening” for Miller.
“I remember when I would almost take advantage of baseball and thought it was an easy game,” Miller said. “Then you run into the situations like I had to run into, you get surgery, it’s not easy.
“Then on this side of the ballpark, the real life things, what they’re doing here at this place in helping these veterans every single day to make them happy again and make their life fulfilled…for me to be a part of that is something special and very humbling for sure.”
Miller’s rehab has been progressing well he said. He will throw three innings in an extended spring training game on Friday.
“I’m getting close,” Miller said of his return. “Arm feels good. I’ve really just been busting my tail to get back to competing at the big league level. It’s something I can’t wait to happen. We’ll see how this next month goes, I should be back pretty soon.”