One Last Time For Miller Time?

Josh Miller spent the months following winning the Atlantic League championship with his fiancee in Houston, Texas thinking that the “off-season” could become “retirement.”

Miller spent about a month of his off-season pitching in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League.  He made four appearances, including three starts, for the Tigres de Aragua — which, as Miller humorously pointed out, roughly translates to the Tigers of Aragua — going 0-0 with an ERA around four.

Were it not for that phone call he received just before Thanksgiving, Miller had thoughts of going out a champion.  His career extended for one more season, he’s pushed those thoughts to next off-season.

“I really don’t know past this year what I plan on doing.  It’ll be like every year, where I re-evaluate at the end of the season and see if I want to keep doing this.”

With his rejuvenating stay in Venezuela behind him, the 31-year-old righty is excited about returning to Somerset for 2010, but understandably has some mixed emotions about it as well.

“It’s a bittersweet thing if you talk to guys in my situation,” Miller said.

“Coming off a good year, you’d hope to get into camp with somebody and be playing in affiliated ball.  But that didn’t work out.  If that’s not going to happen, I can’t think of a better place to play than Somerset.  Most of the guys are coming back, and it’s a great group of guys.  It’s the best team I’ve ever played on professionally, and I’m excited to get back into it next week and get it started.”

Miller put together an outstanding season in 2009, going 10-5 with a 3.65 ERA in 15 appearances for Somerset,14 of them starts.  But he also left for Taiwan just after the All-Star break, in part due to the frustrations of not being able to get signed out of the league as he had with Bridgeport in 2005.

“I got off to a good start, but I wasn’t hearing anything from any clubs,” Miller said in a phone conversation.

“It was the same way with some of my teammates, too.  Brian Adams and Jim Magrane both pitched really well and didn’t get a chance to get out of there.  Then I said, you know what, obviously nothing’s going to happen, so I went to Taiwan for two months and really enjoyed my experience there, I just didn’t pitch really well.  Luckily for me, I was able to re-join the team.”

While Miller thinks the window on a possible return to Taiwan has closed, a departure to Mexico or somewhere else isn’t out of the question in 2010, either.

“There really is no sort of plan, but I’m not going to say no to Mexico,” he said.

“You’ve got to treat yourself like a mercenary here.  You’re trying to make a living.  If somebody would want to pay me way more money than I make in Somerset, then I’d have to think about it.  But my goal is to go play to the best of my abilities.  If that gets me signed out of there, great.  If not, I want to win a lot of games in the Atlantic League.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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