Mariners shortstop Brad Miller loving life at the top

Staff writerJuly 10, 2013 

One of the great moments of Brad Miller’s life came June 27, when he was told he was being promoted to the big leagues.

Miller was called into the manager’s office at Cheney Stadium and was told he was being sent from the Tacoma Rainiers to the Seattle Mariners. Miller said he was left speechless. Rainiers manager John Stearns was moved to tears. Teammates delivered handshakes and hugs.

Now, a dozen games into his big league career, Miller was asked how the reality is living up to all that he expected that night in Tacoma.

“I had no clue,” he said. “It totally caught me off guard, and I didn’t know what to think or say or anything. It was just so cool to come out of the office and see all of my teammates and how excited they were, too. It was just really special, getting to share it with them. It’s been awesome.”

The Mariners seem pretty happy with the decision, too.

Entering Wednesday’s game against the Boston Red Sox, Miller was hitting .275 with six RBI. He has established himself as the Mariners’ regular shortstop, and he seems to be establishing himself as their leadoff hitter. Over his first five leadoff appearances, Miller hit .350 with two doubles, two triples and five RBI.

“I like the energy,” manager Eric Wedge said. “I like the way he makes the adjustments from one at-bat to the other — at times from one pitch to another. I think those are all positive things. He’s been doing a nice job.”

Wedge said Miller also has the speed to make things happen at the top of the order.

“He’s a galloper,” Wedge said, laughing at his own description. “He’s a good galloper — long strider. And it’s right out of the box, and you like to see that.”

On Tuesday, Miller set records in his young career with three hits and four RBI. He also became the 12th Mariners rookie to record at least three hits and four RBI in a game, and the first to do it at Safeco Field.

Miller was asked if any of this surprises him, if that happy night at Cheney Stadium was ever followed by doubts that he was ready.

“I just think it’s fun,” he said. “It’s a new challenge. That’s obviously every level and every day. You show up, and you’ve got to earn it. I think that’s the fun part of it: getting to show up and compete. That’s what we want to do. It’s been awesome.”

SHORT HOPS

The day after the Red Sox and Mariners combined for 19 runs and seven home runs, Boston manager John Farrell said he had never seen Safeco Field play like that, and he estimated that half of the home runs might not have gone out before the outfield dimensions were shortened this season. Wedge, however, wasn’t convinced. “There was a lot of hitting going on (Tuesday), I know that,” he said. “I think that’s the central theme regarding (that game). Most of the guys struggled from a pitching standpoint. I think it was more about that than anything.” … Mariners pitcher Stephen Pryor (shoulder) threw 25 pitches in a simulated inning Wednesday, and outfielder Michael Morse (quadriceps) did some running. However, Wedge said the club will wait until at least Saturday, when Pryor will have another simulated outing, before determining the next move toward their return.

ON TAP

The Mariners and Red Sox will conclude their four-game series at 12:40 p.m. Thursday. Right-hander Ryan Dempster (5-8, 4.04 ERA) is expected to start for Boston. The Mariners did not name their starter, but the assignment likely will go to right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, who was scratched from a scheduled start Wednesday with Triple-A Tacoma. The game will be broadcast on Root Sports and 710-AM.

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808
don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com
blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners

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