TAMPA, Fla. -- These are home games in the literal sense for Andrew Miller, who left some extra money on the table in part because the location of the Yankees' Spring Training site allowed him to sleep in his own bed for two extra months.
Miller has been making the short commute from his Tampa home to the Yanks' complex for weeks, and the team had to like how Miller looked on their bigger stage Wednesday. The left-hander pitched a scoreless third inning around a single with two strikeouts in a 3-1 Grapefruit League loss to the Phillies.
"I'm really happy with the way I was throwing the ball," Miller said. "I'm not too concerned with things right now. It could have been absolutely horrendous and there's nothing to worry about. It's just going out there and getting it going. I felt my breaking ball was really good, so it's always nice to come back and realize it's still there after the offseason."
Miller, 29, inked a four-year, $36 million deal with the Yankees in December and is in competition with right-hander Dellin Betances to serve as the team's closer this season. The Astros offered $40 million over four years for Miller, who produced career bests in strikeouts (103), ERA (2.02) and games (73) last year with the Red Sox and Orioles.
Having run into him often in the late innings of intra-division competition, manager Joe Girardi said that he is pleased to see Miller on his side.
"It was nice," Girardi said. "We saw him throw some breaking balls behind in the count. He can't be a comfortable at-bat for a lot of guys. That's the bottom line, so it was nice to see."
Miller led the AL last year with 14.87 strikeouts per nine innings, second in the Majors only to the Reds' Aroldis Chapman (17.67), and the Yankees hope those numbers will continue to pile up this season.
"It's nice to get out there and work with [Brian] McCann and work with these guys, come out and pitch in front of a crowd for the first time in five months or whatever," Miller said. "I'll take it. I'm happy with it. Honestly, not a big deal. It's more of a, 'You've got to start somewhere kind of thing.'"
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.