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Mikolas turns in 'Majors' effort for Cardinals

Right-hander bounces back with 4 scoreless vs. Astros
Special to MLB.com

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas is looking to get back in the Major Leagues. The 29-year-old spent the past three seasons in the Japanese Central League, going 31-13 with a 2.25 ERA over 62 starts for the Yomiuri Giants.

If he continues to throw like he did in Friday's 4-2 loss to the Astros, it won't be long before he makes that much anticipated return. Mikolas threw four scoreless innings against the World Series champions, scattering four singles -- one in each inning.

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas is looking to get back in the Major Leagues. The 29-year-old spent the past three seasons in the Japanese Central League, going 31-13 with a 2.25 ERA over 62 starts for the Yomiuri Giants.

If he continues to throw like he did in Friday's 4-2 loss to the Astros, it won't be long before he makes that much anticipated return. Mikolas threw four scoreless innings against the World Series champions, scattering four singles -- one in each inning.

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It was a real confidence booster for a pitcher who struggled previously.

"Confidence is a huge thing in this game," Mikolas said. "One of the hardest things to do is to trust your stuff. I think this is a good night for me in that I can trust my stuff. I don't need to overthrow everything. I can go out there and work in and out, up and down."

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Mikolas walked two, but he struck out three and escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth by coaxing Brian McCann to pop out and J.D. Davis to ground out. It ended the inning and his 68-pitch (45 strikes) outing.

Everything seemed to be working for Mikolas, who touched 98 mph with his fastball.

"My velocity should stay there and maybe even pick up towards the end of spring as things really get rolling," Mikolas said.

Mikolas struck out Carlos Correa with the split-change.

Video: STL@HOU: Mikolas freezes McCann on a breaking ball

"Frustrated on some of them, I was leaving them arm side, but it was still a good pitch to show guys that I'm going to away with something," Mikolas said. "And then come back with all my other pitches."

Finding a way to take a little something off the slider change is what Mikolas said he'd like to focus on before his next outing.

"That should make it a little more effective, get some more drop out of it as well as more of a timing pitch to use it as a changeup so that I can vary my speeds from the fastball and the slider/cutter, curveball, changeup/split change," he said.

Mikolas last pitched in the Majors for the Rangers in 2014 under current Cardinals pitching coach Mike Maddux. Signed by St. Louis as a free agent this offseason, Mikolas had allowed 10 earned runs on 13 hits over 4 2/3 innings in two previous spring outings.

"My first couple outings, I think I was caught up in the whole, trying to work on stuff mentality and just trying to bear down with men on base, and work on executing these pitches," Mikolas said.

Born in Jupiter, Fla., Mikolas said he left about 40 tickets for family and friends to make the short drive to see him play. He did not disappoint.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com.

St. Louis Cardinals, Miles Mikolas