During Spring Training, the team had a daily "Words With Wade" game. Miley would be given a word each morning and required to spell, define and use it in a sentence. During one memorable game of "Words With Wade," in July, closer J.J. Putz asked the soon-to-be All-Star a couple of questions.
"They asked me, 'What state do the Kansas City Royals play in?' I got it right. I said, 'Missouri.' Everybody thought I was going to say Kansas," Miley said. "Then they told me to spell 'All-Star.' I said: 'A-L-L-S-T-A-R.' And they said, 'Errrrrrr [wrong].' Then they said my name. That's how they told me [about making the All-Star team]."
Prior to that, Miley said the only time he thought about the All-Star team was when teammates talked about it. That's not surprising, considering that when Spring Training began, Miley was not considered a serious candidate to crack the starting rotation. After sporting a stellar 3.04 ERA, he became the D-backs' only All-Star representative.
"It's amazing," Miley said. "I don't know. It's just an honor to have your name called with all the guys who are going to be there."
Miley joined Arizona's rotation when Daniel Hudson was injured in April. Though Miley pitched well in eight games (seven starts) toward the end of the 2011 season, he did not appear to have a spot on the pitching staff heading into Spring Training. Arizona had acquired starter Trevor Cahill and re-signed Joe Saunders, so the rotation appeared set.
"I had my car packed to go to [Triple-A] Reno on the last day," Miley said. "But it's baseball. It's a crazy game."
Miley pitched well throughout the spring, and when Takashi Saito went down with a calf injury just days before the start of the season, Miley made the team. After making three relief appearances, Miley was thrust into the rotation and has thrived, going 8-3 with a 2.09 ERA in his first 12 starts. He is 12-6 with a 2.98 through Sunday.
Gary Cotton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.