The last few days, Twitter, the internet and just about everything else has blown up with the news that Andrew Miller is heading to Boston to join the Red Sox rotation. The 6’7 lefty had an “out” clause in his contract for June 15. The date has come and gone and Miller is still in a PawSox uniform. Reports indicated that Miller and Theo Epstein would get together on Wednesday the 15th and discuss his future.
The reason there is something to discuss, is because Miller has been pitching extremely well. In his last outing on Tuesday he struck out ten hitters and walked just one. It was the first base on balls Miller had issued in 20 innings. Miller is feeling good about his progress. “I think lately we’ve fine-tuned what my routine’s been between starts. It’s been getting better every time. Rich (Sauveur) and I work on trying to get better every time and I think we’ve accomplished that lately.” One of the key moves has been pitching a simulated first inning in the bullpen after completing his warmups. That same technique worked for Clay Buchholz. Millers’ mind and body believe it’s the second inning when the ballgame actually starts. It has worked.
Miller says that hard work has been important. “I think it’s a combination of everything. The organization has given a great plan to stick to. So far, it’s working out well and I’m just trying to kep it going.”
While Miller is unwilling or unable to “come clean” on his future, he does admit to the Wednesday rendezvous with Epstein. “The meeting did take place and all I can say right now is that the organization has treated me phenomenally well so far. I can’t be any happier than I am here.” Miller, when pressed, still didn’t talk. “I have a pretty good idea of what’s going on, but I’ll let them (Red Sox) doing the talking and make any announcemenmts that need to be made. I don’t want to step on anybodys’ toes or anything like that. Like I said, I have a good idea what they’re going to do. I trust them. So far, things have worked out perfectly.”
When Miller goes to Boston, he’ll be reunited with his college teammate from the University of North Carolina, Daniel Bard. Miller admits that Bard played a small part in gettging him to sign with Boston. “It was nice to be able to talk to him and get his feelings about the organization. I asked him some questions. Ultimately, Daniel and I are in different situations. It was nice to get his feedback, but it’s not like he was the reason I signed here. Plenty of other people told me what a great, first class organization this is. It was a combination of a lot of people that helped me make my decision.”
Miller seemed genuinely amused by the interest he generates from the fans in the “Nation”, but he wasn’t surprised. “It’s a little funny, but you see the fan support we get here in Pawtucket and even on the road for a Triple A team, the amount of support the Red Sox get is incredible. The fans take a lot of pride in their team and they don’t miss much. It’s certainly exciting to be part of an organization where that’s the case.”
One tweet I read quoted Miller as saying that if there were a spot in the Majors, he wanted it. Miller clarified. “No. Everyone wants to pitch in the Big Leagues. Nobody wants to be in a situation that’s artificial. When the timing is right, it’ll happen. I trust myself in the hands of this organization. So far, they’ve done a great job and I’m going to stick with them.”
It seems that the promotion is just on the horizon. Rumors about a Monday start against San Diego continue to be reported. If Andrew Miller finds the success in the Majors that was projected when he was the sixth pick of the first round in 2006, he will go down as the steal of the offseason. He’s got the right stuff. He’s got the right attitude. It just might be “Miller Time.”