Andrew Miller wasn’t ready to call it a season.
Miller underwent surgery on his left foot in July 2013, ending what had been a very promising career for the left-handed reliever. But rather than accepting the fact he wouldn’t pitch again until spring training, Miller tried to convince the Boston Red Sox’s medical staff in October that he was healthy enough to rejoin the bullpen.
“I think I had about half the medical staff convinced I could make a run at coming back,” Miller, now with the Baltimore Orioles, told reporters Thursday. “I wasn’t kidding. I legitimately had a couple of people on board.”
Miller never ended up returning last season, but it wasn’t through a lack of effort. The lanky southpaw even made 20-30 throws in the outfield during batting practice before one game to prove his arm was in good enough shape. He did so while wearing a protective boot.
“I didn’t get very far, but I tried,” Miller said of his 2013 comeback bid. “There was some thought to it. I don’t know how sharp I would have been. But I would have killed to be out there, for sure.”
Miller didn’t skip a beat upon rejoining the Red Sox’s bullpen in 2014. He put together an excellent first half before being traded to the Orioles as Boston made wholesale changes in July and August. The Red Sox surely would have kept Miller if they remained in contention. But with a last-place finish on the horizon, the Sox decided to deal the free agent-to-be in exchange for a promising pitching prospect, Eduardo Rodriguez.
“This has been a blast,” Miller said Thursday of his run with the Orioles. “It’s all I can ask for. Getting traded from Boston was obviously a little bittersweet, but for me, I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better spot to come to.”
Miller has thrived with the O’s, setting himself up for a lucrative contract on the open market and putting Baltimore into a position to contend for its first World Series title since 1983. The 29-year-old forever will cherish his time in Boston, though, even if his highly sought October return was delayed by a year.
“Thirty years from now or whatever, I’m going to look back on that. Not many guys have World Series rings,” Miller said. “It’s going to be pretty cool when I’ll be able to show my son and my friends and family the ring. If I can have one that’s maybe more meaningful because I contributed, even better.”
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