Miller hitting midseason stride just in time

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 20, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

It’s midseason, and Jai Miller is just getting into the swing of things.

The Florida Marlins prospect went a combined 2-for-6 with a home run and a double in a doubleheader at Memphis Wednesday, and his bat may still get hotter.

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“I’m starting to get more comfortable and get more used to Triple-A,” Miller said. “It’s different from Double-A, just getting used to the pitching and the league and trying to put up some good numbers.”

Miller was hitting .240 with 10 home runs, 25 RBIs and nine stolen bases entering Thursday night’s game against the Redbirds.

Since he began the season with the Albuquerque Isotopes in April, it has been an arduous process to establish himself as a major league-ready player.

His adjustment to Pacific Coast League pitchers has resulted in a nearly 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

He missed three games last month with back spasms, and he is still adjusting to playing right field in lieu of his natural position in center.

He also has batted leadoff for the majority of the season, something he hasn’t done since low A ball.

“It’s to get more at-bats and just to use my speed at the top of the lineup,” Miller said. “I think it’s just one of things that’s just to help me develop more as a player.”

Miller said he’s not worried about making the adjustments, and neither are his biggest cheerleaders – his family members.

“It’s like I tell Jay, pitchers are aware of him. They know he has power and ability,” said grandfather Randall. “They know what pitch he has more problems with, and he sees them throw a lot of those. That’s what I would do.”

Randall said he and his family have made every trip the team has made to cities within reasonable proximity to Selma this season. They will be in the stands tonight when Albuquerque and Memphis play the final game of their series at 6:05 p.m. eastern time.

With major league call-ups in September, Miller – like

every other minor league player on their teams’ 40-man rosters – is building a resume that could get him to the show.

“I know he’s there. He’s close,” Randall said. “It’s not like it was two or three years ago when he was in the lower minors. It’s almost a certainty that he will be going up, it’s just a matter of how soon.”

Miller wants to be sure he’s ready for the move.

“It’s not going to happen if I don’t take care of business,” Miller said. “Me taking care of business, it makes their job a lot easier.”