The Mills family gathered around the computer for much of the afternoon on Tuesday in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

And after more than three hours, they saw what they were looking for: Michigan pitcher Tyler Mills had been drafted in the ninth round of the MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.

“It was very stressful, to say the least,” Mills said Tuesday evening. “And the tension builds after a while. And all of a sudden they announced my name. It was a lot of weight off the shoulders, that’s for sure.”

Mills may have been tipped off when the Cardinals had called him about a minute prior to drafting him. They asked if he would be interested and made sure he hadn’t acquired any injuries that the club didn’t know about.

St. Louis was one of a handful of clubs that Mills thought he may get drafted by. He also had workouts for the Chicago Cubs and Florida Marlins in the weeks leading up to the draft.

“I felt those teams were interested so I thought for sure one of them would get me,” Mills said.

The discomfort of the waiting game for Mills was compounded by the many places that he heard he might be drafted.

“You hear all these predictions,” Mills said. “I heard anywhere from the fifth to seventh (round) range, but you see a lot of people that were supposed to go in the first round that go in the sixth. You can’t expect too much and you got to stay even-keeled and hope for the best.”

Though Mills, who recently finished his redshirt sophomore season at Michigan, didn’t have the best track record among those eligible for the draft, Major League scouts see potential in his right arm.

A converted outfielder, Mills’ 2011 season was the first time he devoted his attention to pitching. He was 2-4 with a 5.02 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 19 appearances — eight of them starts. Mills helped to lift the team out of its 0-7 hole at the start of the season by throwing 7.1 innings and allowing just one earned run and striking out seven in the team’s 5-2 win against Massachusetts.

However, after struggling as a starter later in the season, Mills reinvented himself as one of Michigan coach Rich Maloney’s most reliable relievers.

After the Cardinals made their decision, a big decision lies ahead for Mills: whether he will sign with St. Louis or return to Ann Arbor for his redshirt junior season. The Cardinals had not yet come forth with a deal, but Mills expects that they will in the coming days.

“A lot of it will be the money.” Mills said, when asked about the factors that will play into the decision. “We’ll see if they’ll treat me as a little bit of a higher draft pick than what I was and how high they are on me and how badly they think I can get into the bigs.”

Added Mills: “I love Michigan and pro baseball is also something I’ve always wanted to do. So right now I’m about 50-50 and I want to hear what the Cardinals have to offer and what their thoughts are and see what’s best for me right now.”

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