Seattle’s Brad Miller gets 1st career start in left field
SEATTLE (AP) — Brad Miller received no heads up that when he arrived at the park that he was about to make his first start in left field for the Seattle Mariners.
Good thing Miller has spent the last 10 days getting extra work in the outfield during pregame.
“Listen, you catch a popup at shortstop, you catch a popup in left forward. He can screw up at short, he can screw up in left; it’s the same thing,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “It’s baseball. It’s that simple, it’s baseball. If it’s hit to you, catch it. If you screw that up, pick it up and throw it back in.”
Miller was scheduled to make his first start in left field against Boston on Thursday night. After 201 starts over three seasons at shortstop, Seattle is seeing just how versatile Miller can be.
“I feel good. I think we haven’t really been able to test it obviously because I haven’t played in a game but I feel good just running out there and having fun with it and trying to get as many balls that I can,” Miller said.
The Mariners can’t afford to take his bat out of the lineup with a right-handed pitcher on the mound, even if it means the potential liability of Miller’s inexperience in the outfield.
Miller still thinks of himself as a shortstop. But he understands this is his way to get into the lineup with Chris Taylor having started every game at shortstop since being recalled from a rehab assignment at Triple-A on May 4.
Miller started working with assistant hitting coach Andy Van Slyke on outfield drills about 10 days ago when the Mariners were in Anaheim facing the Angels.
He is borrowing a glove from Dustin Ackley, another former middle infielder who is now playing both left and center field for the Mariners.
The left-handed-hitting Miller is batting .370 at home with six doubles and two home runs, and is hitting .293 overall against right-handed pitching. Miller drove in both of Seattle’s runs in its 4-2 loss to San Diego on Wednesday with a solo homer and an RBI double.