Miller prepared to play all over for Cards

February 14th, 2020

JUPITER, Fla. -- Just a day after he signed with the Cardinals, veteran infielder was already in the clubhouse and working out with his new teammates Thursday, taking swings and grounders on the Cardinals practice fields at Roger Dean Stadium.

Miller, 30, said he was looking for a contending team when trying to find a place to play this season. He foresees the Cardinals as a good fit, especially since the club has been interested in the left-handed hitter the last two winters.

“When they reached out, obviously a lot of interest on my end,” Miller said. “Everything I’ve heard about the Cardinals is pretty positive, playing in Busch Stadium pretty positive, a lot of fun. The tradition -- I was looking for a winning team and winning organization that did things the right way.”

Miller came up through the Mariners system as a shortstop, but once he reached the Majors in 2013, he began to learn other positions on the fly. In his seven-year career, he’s played all over the infield and outfield, and he’s spent time with seven organizations -- four of them in 2019 alone, when he was coming off right hip surgery from the year before. In Spring Training last year, he was with the Dodgers. After they cut ties, he signed with the Indians and played in 13 games before being designated for assignment. The Yankees signed him to a Minor League contract, and he did well enough in Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre that he was traded to the Phillies.

He had a .941 OPS and hit 12 homers for the Phillies in 66 games to end the season. His health and production were two reasons the Cardinals targeted him as spring approached.

“The biggest thing for me personally, after a couple of rough years of injuries, I feel like I’m put back together,” Miller said. "My legs are back under me, I feel like I can be a better contributor offensively and defensively, on the bases, but I feel like I’m healthy. At the end of last year, that’s the player I think I can be and have shown a little bit.”

Miller will be a veteran left-handed option off the bench for the Cardinals, adding to the infield depth that includes Tommy Edman, Yairo Muñoz and Edmundo Sosa. The 26th roster spot that has been added this year will also come into play when determining the utility players on the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster.

“Talking about six years of service time, another option from the left side, and then a guy that can play multiple positions,” manager Mike Shildt said. “We appreciate his versatility; that will be part of his role, being able to move around and give us different options as the game goes. He’ll come in and have a chance to compete for at-bats.”

Miller doesn’t mind where he plays. He’s prepared to make an impact regardless.

“They’ve communicated that there’s a lot of opportunity,” Miller said. “I’m not quite sure where it’s going to come from, but that’s kind of what I’m used to. I’m always ready to hit, ready to go, and I’m prepared to play any position. Baseball season is crazy; it’ll all kind of work itself out.”