HOUSTON — The spotlight on Mariners shortstop Brad Miller rarely dims. Not with Chris Taylor healthy again and playing well at Triple-A Tacoma.
So when Miller commits a couple throwing errors, as happened earlier this week against the Texas Rangers, the questions — and the concerns — resurface.
Miller just tries to let it wash over him.
“I just had two throws that were a little shaky,” he said, “but that’s how it works. You’re not going to be perfect every time. It’s nothing too extreme.
“Obviously, you want to make accurate throws, but you’ve just go to keep making plays. I made every play the next day. You just kind of keep going. You can’t get too worked up.”
Miller’s errors Monday and Tuesday, which both came on wild throws, were just his second and third of the season — although he was saved from another possible error or two by first baseman Logan Morrison.
Manager Lloyd McClendon didn’t dismiss Miller’s throwing issues but sees no major reason for concern.
“It’s just footwork,” McClendon said. “He’s got a good arm. I think, at times, he just forgets his footwork. He’s got to continue to work on it. I think he’s going to be fine because everything is correctable.”
Miller also hit into some tough luck in settling for just two hits in nine at-bats against the Rangers. Several hard-hit balls turned into outs, including a sparkling play Wednesday by Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre.
“If I hit a ball hard,” Miller said, “I’m not going to take that as a negative. Because then I’m really going to be beating myself up.”
And that, he contends, is a sign of growing maturity, which is underscored by his strong start. He carried a .281/.319/.406 slash into Thursday’s series opener against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
“A year ago,” Miller said, “I’d hit the ball hard, get nothing to show for it, and wonder if I’m gong to hit it hard again.”
The same roll-with-it approach applies to his defense.
“You’re going to have good plays,” he said, “and you’re going to have bad ones. I’m in the middle of everything, and I can’t let that bother me and affect me because, most likely, that ball is going to come back to me again.
“I was happy the next day to get seven or eight balls and get it done. It’s one of those things. You always have to work on your mechanics, your footwork and to make good throws.”
Because the spotlight isn’t going away.