While all of Red Sox Nation watched on Monday night as 6’7 Andrew Miller made his Boston debut to positive reviews, his teammates and coaches were just as interested down in Louisville, Kentucky as they were playing the Bats. Miller worked 5 and two thirds innings for Boston in their eventual slaughter of the Padres. Millers’ first five frames were shutout innings. In the sixth, a walk, a single, and a three run homer by Orlando Hudson sent Miller to the showers with the score tied at 3-3. Miller was long gone by the time the Red Sox offense erupted for ten runs in the seventh inning.
One man was especially interested in the results. PawSox pitching coach, Rich Sauveur, who has worked extensively with the former number oe pick since early this spring. “I’m very, very proud of what he’s done, what he’s accomplished here in Pawtucket, able to get back to the Big Leagues and have a very positive outing.” Sauveur spoke about Millers’ mechanics and his “Buchholzian” plan of attack. “Andrew approached me and wanted to throw more pitches in a game. I just couldn’t allow that to happen, so we started going down to the bullpen earlier. He’d warm up as usual, then sit down for four or five minutes, then throw a simulated first inning. 15 or so pitches.” Sauveur had used the same technique with another star pupil a couple of years ago. “It worked for Clay Buchholz, so we figured, why not?” Buchholz still uses the same approach and Sauveur thinks Miller will too. Technique-wise, Sauveur said they tried to compact Millers’ delivery. Andrew is tall and lanky with a lot of moving parts. Rich is pleased with the results. ” It started out trying to minimize some of his movements. Curt Young started working with him in Fort Myers, and passed along a couple of things to work on here in Pawtucket. Minimize his movement. Step back and shorten things up a little bit, and compact his delivery a little bit. He’s worked really hard. It’s been a positive outcome of him working hard, day in, day out on the things he needed to work on. He’s been in the Big Leagues before and wanted to get back there.”
There are inevitable comparisons to another tall lefthander, 6’10 RandyJohnson. Sauveur is one of the best people around to adddress such an analogy. Sauveur and the Big Unit were teammates in Indianapolis, while at Triple A, and has more recently, tutored Miller. “It’s valid. Both of them are very tall, very lanky, very strong. It’s the delivery. Scouts talk about the body. They see bodies like this, most bodies like this are going to be pitchers. I do see a lot of Randy Johnson in Andrew Miller. Randy had command issues back when I played with him. He had to work on that. Obviously, it worked out. He overcame those and did a great job in the Big Leagues.”
While Terry Francona was dishing out praise after Andrews’ outing, he did single out Sauveur for the work he’s done. It meant a lot to Rich. “It’s very very nice. I didn’t see it, but it’s nice. I appreciate it when he notices the work that goes on down here. It’s great when the work that our coaching staff does, pays off.”
Sauveur points to Millers’ work ethic and his “secondary” pitches as keys to his success. He says those things, coupled with the confidence he has from being in the Big leagues before, are a good recipe.
If 25 year old Andrew Miller continues to improve and pitch well, he will be a big part of the Sox present and future