Versatile Miller making his mark at first camp

Versatile Miller making his mark at first camp

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Brad Miller understands his time may be limited in Mariners camp going forward, but the young infielder wants to make the most of every opportunity this spring. So going 2-for-4 with a home run and double in Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the D-backs certainly registered on his Richter scale.

"That was fun," said Miller, the Mariners' second-round Draft pick out of Clemson in 2011. "A lot of fun. A whole lot of fun."

Miller, ranked by as the Mariners' No. 8 prospect, has received a good look from the Mariners in the first few weeks of Spring Training. Going into Wednesday's game, the 23-year-old was tied with Justin Smoak for the second-most Cactus League at-bats on the team, one behind Carlos Peguero's 30.

"It's been awesome," Miller said. "One, just getting to be around everybody for the full time. Last year I got to come over a couple times to sit on the bench, but just being around everybody and trying to pick up everything from all the guys has been great. And just getting a lot of action, too, getting out there to play and trying to take advantage of that opportunity."

Though Miller was drafted as a shortstop and played there exclusively last year when splitting his first full season of pro ball between Class A High Desert and Double-A Jackson, he's seen time at second and third base this spring as well.

"I've always definitely practiced at different spots," said the Florida native. "But that was some of my first real game action at third and second, so it's been cool. It makes you better everywhere. It really does. They talked about wanting me to try out at different spots, so that's been perfect."

Miller has been solid this spring, but hadn't hit much in games until his Tuesday outburst, which raised his Cactus League average to .241 (7-for-29). He didn't take much time to enjoy his first home run, sprinting out of the box so fast that he was halfway around the bases before realizing the ball was over the wall.

"I was hauling," he said with a grin. "Off the bat, I thought, 'Get over his head, get over his head.' Then I saw him back off the wall and I'm like, 'OK, he's playing the bounce off the wall. I'm going three.' Then I saw the umpire or heard the fans or something and I was, 'OK, I'll take that.' I was already at second. It felt good to put a good swing on it and get after a ball."

Manager Eric Wedge appreciates Miller's all-out approach and definitely has taken notice of the youngster this camp.

"He's a good young player," Wedge said. "He's a heady player. The ball jumps off his bat. He's able to hang in there good against left-handers. And as you've seen, we've played him at second, short and third. He's young, but very mature for his age, both on and off the field."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.