Miller sticking to second base at camp

Infielder used to changing positions, but anticipating stability in 2017

Miller sticking to second base at camp

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Brad Miller has moved around a lot during his four Major League seasons.

Miller played shortstop for the Rays during the first half of the 2016 season. But when shortstop Matt Duffy came over in a trade with the Giants, Miller was relegated to first base. Prior to joining the Rays, he'd played shortstop, third base, center field, left field and second base for the Mariners.

Now, Miller's back at second.

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"I'm not going to prepare for first at all this spring," Miller said. "Just try to get as many reps at second and short right now with the makeup of the team. Obviously, I know it's a long year. I've been through changing positions before. So I understand."

Rays manager Kevin Cash allowed that the Rays want Miller to play second base, which answered the question about who was on first. That spot now appears to belong to Logan Morrison and Rickie Weeks.

And that leaves Miller reacquainting himself with second.

"The one thing I've learned from playing different positions is when you kind of strip it down, they all are the same," Miller said. "Catch the ball. Have good footwork. And throw the ball accurately.

"I think when you move like that, it kind of makes you get more simplified, because you can't be trying to solve crazy equations and do stuff. You kind of strip it down. That's kind of what I've tried to do. But I do have an appreciation from playing first."

From the 39 games he played at first this past season, Miller knows "what good throws are."

"When it hits you in the chest, it's a lot of fun," Miller said. "Other times, when they're diving all over the place, it's kind of hard. So definitely have an appreciation for it."

The Rays' propensity for shifting definitely will help Miller's transition.

"We move around a lot," Miller said. "I've noticed [with] our infielders, up the middle at least, we play pretty extreme both ways. I think as an infielder, you have to have a lot of different throws in there.

"Even at first base, there are some different throws going. But I think if your feet are under you, that's the biggest part. The footwork is different, so you kind of go from there."

Miller caught Cash's eye at Sunday's first full-squad workout.

"Brad looked outstanding today," Cash said. "I shouldn't need to say this, but I told him, 'You looked like it was natural, watching you turn double plays.' I mean, really fundamentally sound. There was some natural comfort over there."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.