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Fan’s Death Hits Close To Cardinals’ Futures Star

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Newly signed St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller watches batting practice from the dugout after talking with reporters before a game with the Houston Astros at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on August 25, 2009.  UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Newly signed St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller watches batting practice from the dugout after talking with reporters before a game with the Houston Astros at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on August 25, 2009. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

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PHOENIX (AP) — Shelby Miller’s joy at being a part of Sunday’s All-Star Futures game was tainted by the sorrow of the tragic death of a friend.

Shannon Stone, who fell to his death Thursday night at Rangers Ballpark while trying to catch a ball tossed into the stands last week, was a fellow firefighter and close friend of Miller’s father Mitch in Brownwood, Texas.

Shelby said he was speechless when he heard the news and had a hard time preventing it from affecting him as he prepared for his role for the U.S. team in Sunday’s Futures Game, which features the game’s leading minor league prospects.

“I can’t weep over it or do anything that’s going to keep me from performing well or something like that,” he said after his U.S. team’s 6-4 victory. “It’s definitely in the back of your mind. You think about it, and then you get down, and then you just try to forget about it and it’s not easy. It’s something I’m going to have to get through, me and my family are going to have to get through and the Stones are going to have to get through.”

Miller is a 20-year-old right-hander for Double-A Springfield, Mo., in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, has a fastball in the high 90s. St. Louis made him the 19th pick overall in the 2009 draft. He is 5-4 in 14 starts for Springfield with a 2.44 ERA, with 114 strikeouts and 28 walks.

Miller pitched a scoreless inning on Sunday, allowing one hit, striking out one and walking one. He said his parents were with the Stones family on Sunday but taped the game and planned to watch it later.

He remembered Stone as a great person and a great father to the 6-year-old boy who watched his dad fall to his death.

“We’ll get through it,” Miller said, “but right now it’s pretty tough.”

Copyright Associated Press

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