Miller in competition for Seattle's shortstop job

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 21, 2014
The arrival of Robinson Cano suddenly left Brad Miller in the midst of a competition. Throughout his first experience last season with the Seattle Mariners, Miller showed signs at the plate and in the field that he could be a long-term answer at shortstop. And then the Mariners threw $240 million toward Cano, and Miller was left to enter spring training in a battle with teammate Nick Franklin to be the Mariners' starting shortstop. ''We know we're not going to be playing second base, one of us. That is the reality of it,'' Miller said Friday morning. ''But I think we're both focused on putting our best, not necessarily against the other guy, but putting our best out there for the Mariners. That's pretty much the focus. We've been getting a lot of good work in.'' Miller was one of the pleasant surprises to come out of another down season for the Mariners in 2013. He vaulted from Double-A at the start of the season into the Mariners' starting lineup as their everyday shortstop before the All-Star break. He brought a jolt of energy and speed to the top of the batting order and was solid in the field. ''I think I played hard. I think I did. Maybe if I had a rough stretch in the field or hitting, I think I still played with some energy and that's a big part of my game,'' Miller said. Miller seemed locked into a starting job going forward, only to be thrown into a two-man race with Franklin. When Seattle made the move to sign Cano, it became obvious Franklin would be moved from second base. The question was where? Despite rumors Franklin could be traded, he was right next to Miller taking ground balls when spring training started. The competition could have created some acrimony between the two, whose lockers sit next to each other in the Mariners' remodeled spring training clubhouse. But it hasn't. ''Yeah, we're working out at the same position but we still have the same working relationship,'' Miller said. ''We're both helping each other out trying to get better and, honestly, it kind of feels the same as last year, we're just working together.'' Each player has an advantage over the other. Franklin is a switch hitter with more power. Miller has better speed and is more solid in the field. Because of the strengths they bring, the pair rides the line in the debate about whether shortstop is still a position where defense is valued first or offense. For Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon, shortstop remains a defense-first position, although he's not about to turn down someone who can bring the offense as well. ''I want a guy who is going to make the routine plays. When the ball is hit to short, I can turn and think about something else,'' McClendon said. ''Ideally you like a combination of defense and offense, you'd like that at every position, but you've got to be able to catch the ball.'' Miller also learned about the rigors of going through a full season last year. Between his time in the minors and the 76 games he played with the Mariners, Miller appeared in 144 games last season. In an effort to be sturdier throughout the season, Miller - who was listed at 185 pounds last season - added noticeable bulk to his frame. Miller said he's now around 210 pounds. ''I wanted to gain strength ... but I wanted to be as strong and athletic as I could,'' Miller said. ''I was able to slowly gain some weight, but I had some time. That was the good thing about the offseason. I had four months. ... I feel good, feel the same as last year, just hopefully a lot faster and stronger.'' NOTES: McClendon said he intends to keep OF Dustin Ackley strictly in left field, likely leaving the center field job to either Michael Saunders or Abraham Almonte. ... Mariners hitting coach Howard Johnson was walking with a limp Friday after suffering a broken toe after taking a line drive off his foot during batting practice a day earlier. ... RHP Brandon Maurer was scratched from his throwing session Friday because of a sore back.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

White Sox fan wears a fantastic taped-up Chris Sale jersey

Wisconsin kicker will wear 27 to honor Nebraska's Sam Foltz

Dennis Schroder wears disguise to play in German streetball tournament

Browns indicate they will give Josh Gordon another chance

Prince Fielder to undergo season-ending neck surgery

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Eagles want Carson Wentz to be 'starter ready' Week 1

Report: 49ers concerned Anthony Davis will quit again

Did Manning hurt NFLPA's case in HGH investigations?

Report: Steinbrenner won't allow fire sale, wants to make playoffs

Report: Dion Waiters agrees to one-year deal with Heat

Report: Junior Galette out for season with torn Achilles

Tom Jackson could leave ESPN after almost three decades

Cavs sign coach Tyronn Lue to a five-year extension

More than 10,000 people registered for Jaguars Pokemon Go night

NFL issues new concussion protocol

Angels listening to offers on Hector Santiago

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

Kevin Durant’s OKC restaurant will be closed, rebranded

Lamar Odom said to be held back by one 'toxic friend'

Mario Balotelli crashes Liverpool fans' wedding

Michael Vick: I used to feel I was 'dominating too much'

WATCH: Astros, Rangers minor leaguers get into brawl

A too early preview of UEFA World Cup 2018 qualifying

Mariners News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker