By Ryan Divish The News Tribune
SALT LAKE CITY — Brad Miller knows in the next few days his big-league dream aspirations will go back to being just a dream. But for the Mariners’ infield prospect, he’s going to enjoy one last game with the big boys before heading back to the minors where he’ll resume his climb back to where he is now.
Miller will suit up in Seattle’s final spring training game today when the Mariners take on the Colorado Rockies at Spring Mobile Park.
After the game, he will be optioned to the minors, most likely to Class AA Jackson.
Still, it’s been one heck of a spring for him, vastly exceeding his wildest expectations.
And to be one of the last minor league guys remaining with the big league team says something of his performance this spring.
“My goal was to stick around as long as I can,” Miller said.
While more heralded infield prospects like Nick Franklin and Carlos Triunfel were cut from big league camp weeks ago, Miller stayed and played till the very end.
“It should say a lot to him, and we told him that,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “That’s how strong we feel about him. That’s how well he showed himself in this camp. That’s how well he’s handled himself in camp.”
Miller has impressed Wedge from the very beginning with his athleticism, his hustle and his old-school approach to the game. He played in 20 games this spring, seeing time at shortstop, second base and third base. He showed the ability to play all three at a solid level.
“We look at him as a true shortstop, but we still want him to get some time at second and third base, too,” Wedge said.
At the plate, Miller hit .222 (10-for-45) with three doubles, two triples and a homer.
Miller’s goal this was to be seen and not heard, while soaking up everything he could in the big league clubhouse.
“You want to take advantage of the opportunity,” he said. “Just being over here for the games and practicing with them in the morning has been awesome. Everyone has been welcoming and helpful, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Perhaps the biggest thing Miller learned was the daily work it takes to be successful at the big-league level. He thought he understood it, but it was a little different when he experienced it.
“I learned so much more abut preparation,” he said. “I see how everybody goes about their business — how Raul Ibanez, Kyle Seager and Brendan Ryan practice every day. They are there for a reason. They perform that way for a reason. They get ready as professionals and they perform like hat. That’s the biggest thing I learned. I want to be like that.”