The Phillies picture Brad Miller playing a lot this season, either starting somewhere in the infield or outfield or coming off the bench late in games, and coming through with big hits against right-handed pitchers.
He is their best bench bat.
But Miller’s status to make the Opening Day roster became less certain on Saturday after he could not play because of an issue with his right oblique. Miller said on Sunday that he has been feeling something there throughout the spring.
“It kind of picked up a little bit,” Miller said. “It wasn’t going away.”
Phillies manager Joe Girardi said Miller received an MRI exam on Sunday afternoon, although results were not expected until Monday. Miller will see where things stand in a couple days. There are 18 days before Opening Day on April 1, so there is time. But obliques can be tricky. If he pushes himself too hard too fast, he could make things worse. If Miller is not ready by Opening Day, it could open a spot on the roster for infielders C.J. Chatham or Nick Maton. Ronald Torreyes is an option because of his defense, but he is not on the 40-man roster.
Miller said he started to feel something while jogging shortly before Saturday’s game against the Tigers in Clearwater, Fla. He told Rhys Hoskins that something did not feel right. Miller told Torreyes to be ready to take his place.
Better to be safe than sorry.
“It’s not anything crazy,” Miller said. “But it started when I was kind of moving around. Then I was like, ‘All right, that’s a little different than before, so let’s pump the brakes a little bit.’”
Miller, 31, had an .807 OPS in 171 plate appearances last season with the Cardinals. He had a .941 OPS in 130 plate appearances with the Phillies in 2019, and Miller has a .772 OPS in his career against right-handed pitchers.
No wonder Girardi said losing Miller for any stretch would be a “significant” loss.
“I just know I need some treatment, some TLC, some rest,” Miller said. “Hopefully it’s nothing too serious. As far as timelines, I think we’ll probably get into that. I’m sure in the next couple days we’ll start to talk about the progression and all that.”