Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 3/16/12
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Unless something dastardly happens to catchers Devin Mesoraco and Ryan Hanigan, fans aren't likely to see much of catcher Corky Miller this year. That doesn't minimize his importance or his contributions to the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff during spring training and over the course of the long, long season. Miller, 36, is one of the most beloved players in the clubhouse by one and all and his knowledge of pitchers that is stored in his brain is endless. And the Reds pitchers fear not to tap into that fountain of experience -- 14 years in professional baseball, mostly as a back-up catcher when he is in the majors and 904 games in the minor leagues. Everybody with any knowledge of the game knows that some day Miller, a native and resident of Yucaipa, Calif. will be coaching in the majors and is prime fodder to sit in a manager's chair. So it is worthwhile to listen to the man with the fu Manchu mustaches when he talks about the Reds starting rotation. Wind him up, turn him on and listen, listen, listen to his assessments of this year's rotation. JOHNNY CUETO: "The confidence he has coming off last year is so noticeable. Right off, he has confidence in all his pitches. I caught a bullpen for him the other day and he made quick, instant adjustments. Everything is sharp. "He is only 26, but coming off last year he knows where he is, knows what he is going to do. He'll take control of the staff, lead everybody and everybody is going to follow him." MAT LATOS (Big smile on Miller's face): "He is that weird cat, a bit different. But he throws quality pitches, he's young (24) and every day he is getting better. We'll stay with the stuff that he has and nothing seems to faze him. He has a great curveball and his change-up is a pitch that will work well for him in Great American Ball Park because that pitch just dives down. He is going to explode bats with his fastball and keep them off-balance with that curve and change-up." BRONSON ARROYO: "He does whatever he needs to do to get outs. I've been surprised this spring. I caught one of his bullpens and he threw 55 pitches. In the past, he is a guy who wants to cut it short and tinker with stuff. "He is really letting the ball go and getting some velocity on it after not having it last year. He has that great breaking ball and if he can just get a couple of extra miles an hour, he doesn't have to set up hitters so much. I've seen him work and it looks as if his off-season program really helped him." MIKE LEAKE: "Leake is young (24), but he is like a young, veteran guy. He will do whatever he can to get people out without the power stuff. He is not a power guy, but he can throw it hard enough and sink it back door or go to inside cutters. "He is the kind of guy if you'd never seen him or never talked to him you'd think he has been around a long time instead of two years. He knows what his stuff is going to do and he sees things pretty well as far as setting up hitters with his stuff. You put down a sign and he gets it quick, understands what you are trying to do. HOMER BAILEY: "Homer came into camp bigger and stronger and has some more power. Everything he throws is 100 percent. The big thing for him is getting ahead of guys and finishing them with his stuff over the plate. We've all seen where he can be sometimes and we've all seen where he has gone sometimes when he gets in trouble. "He is the epitome of a power guy who comes after you with his fastball, try to make you miss it. If he can throw his off-speed stuff for strikes, then he can throw his fastball and it is by you in a flash." Miller's career major-league batting average is .207, but his pitchingcatching IQ is nearly as high and the Reds have been wise enough to keep him around for just that reason.
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