Miller gets the ball for Sox in series finale

August, 25, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Red Sox pitcher Andrew Miller is ready for any role given to him by manager Terry Francona.

Miller has made nine starts for Boston this season, and has also worked out of the bullpen. The 26-year-old left-hander has been effective, posting a 5-1 record with a 4.99 ERA this season.

[+] EnlargeAndrew Miller
Ed Zurga/Getty ImagesAndrew Miller was solid in his last start, giving up just one run in 5 1/3 innings.
He’ll make his 10th start of the season on Thursday against the Texas Rangers in the series finale at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Miller is hoping to help Boston to a series win against a team the Sox might see in the playoffs.

Francona decided earlier in the week to tweak his starting rotation a bit, meaning Miller would start Thursday and veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield would go on Friday against the Athletics at Fenway Park.

“Whenever I get an opportunity I’ll take it,” Miller said. “I’m just trying to help us win games, it doesn’t matter when the opportunity comes.”

Miller was solid his last outing against Kansas City on Aug. 19, working 5 1/3 innings and allowing only one run on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts in Boston’s 7-1 victory over the Royals.

“I’m pretty comfortable with the way I threw the ball the other day, so I’m just trying to carry it over,” Miller said. “I try to get better every time out, but ultimately there aren’t many adjustments after the last one.”

Because it was his first start since July 31, Miller admitted he had a little bit of doubt going into that outing, but he threw the ball extremely well and doesn’t believe he’ll need to knock any rust off for Thursday’s start.

“It was encouraging as hell, and I’m sure he felt the same way, too,” Francona said of Miller’s last performance.

Miller, who was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft by the Detroit Tigers, pitched in the big leagues for the Tigers and Florida Marlins before the Red Sox signed him as a minor-league free agent last December.

He was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket in June and has been a solid contributor. He’s been working closely with veteran catcher Jason Varitek and fellow backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

“It’s been great,” Miller said. “Jason’s history, you just follow pretty much everything he says. He can take the lead, and Salty’s done a great job of watching him and learning. I’m comfortable with both guys back there. As a staff we’re fortunate to have those guys.”

Joe McDonald

ESPN Staff Writer



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