Miller embracing transition to super-utility role

Former everyday shortstop has played all three outfield spots, second base

Miller embracing transition to super-utility role

TORONTO -- The midseason transition of Brad Miller from starting shortstop to super-utility player has been one of the Mariners' more intriguing storylines in recent weeks, and that plot continues developing, as Miller filled in for second baseman Robinson Cano in Sunday's 8-2 loss to the Blue Jays.

Miller has now played all three outfield positions as well as second base, designated hitter and his familiar shortstop role in a one-week span. It's a big change, but Miller comes to the park each day with an open mind, waiting to see what role awaits.

"If you embrace that, you can use it to your advantage," Miller said. "Whereas if you show up and see it as a negative or pout or something, then it's not going to help you. So I'm just kind of going with the flow right now."

It doesn't hurt that Miller has been one of the Mariners' more productive hitters, no matter where he's been placed defensively.

Miller's solo shot

"That's part of it, not letting it affect your performance. Not letting other factors get in your way," Miller said. "I know at the end of the day, I've got to play well. So whatever I've got to do to do that. I just want to keep it going and keep working."

Playing the outfield is the biggest adjustment for a guy who spent his entire professional career at shortstop, along with a few games at second and third. Miller has spent considerable time working pregame for the past three weeks with outfield coach Andy Van Slyke, and he has gotten more comfortable reading the ball off the bat.

And, like any player with a mitt and a wall, Miller enjoys making leaping attempts at the fence, which he nearly pulled off earlier this week in Baltimore trying to steal a grand slam from Steve Pearce.

Pearce's grand slam

"All me and Andy do the last 10 minutes of batting practice is home run robberies," Miller said. "I knew the wall in Camden is shorter than Safeco. It's crazy when it happened. It's such an adrenaline rush, and I'm just going. It ended up being probably two rows too deep. But honestly, my attitude out there is I'm just trying to go get everything. Not really think about anything, but whatever I see, just go and get it."

Worth noting
• Austin Jackson went 3-for-5 with a double in Triple-A Tacoma's game at Iowa on Saturday and is now hitting .310 in seven rehab games as he returns from a sprained right ankle. Manager Lloyd McClendon said a decision is looming on the center fielder.

"[Jackson is] feeling a lot better. I think he's real close," McClendon said Sunday morning. "We'll see how he feels after today's game and go from there."

It's possible Jackson could rejoin the Mariners as early as Monday in Tampa Bay.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.