Greg Miller Feeling Good and Shows Why

VERO BEACH, FLa.- It hasn't been one of the hot topics of spring training but it may turn out to be one of the more significant. Greg Miller looks much like he looked before his shoulder woes began. What's more, he feels like it.

"I feel great", he says. "No pain at all."

The ball has been jumping from his hand as it did in his pre-injury days and the results have noticeable. "I've had several bullpen sessions that went well," he asserts. More importantly he's been in two games- for Jacksonville in the intra-squad contest played there last week and against the Orioles Saturday. He threw two innings with no runs and excellent damage control each time.

Remember, this was one of the premier left-handed prospects in all the minors before his shoulder miseries set in late in 2003. The next spring he couldn't throw without hurting so was shut down with the forecast that he'd be back in about three months. It was over a year-and one-half before he returned to competition.

They modified his pitching style from over-the-top to three-quarters to ease the strain on his surgically-repaired arm. That seemed to work fine as he moved briskly from the Gulf Coast League through Vero Beach to Jacksonville in his rehab assignments. However, in the Arizona Fall League, he began experiencing some pain once more so was quickly sent home to California.

The diagnosis was that he had caused some irritation by unconsciously straying to his old arm slot. No further cutting was needed, just some rest. After that, he went back to Arizona to join a group of Dodgers working out in Phoenix. He likes the area so much that he's bought a home and now lives there permanently.

During those sessions, his motion was tinkered with some more. "I'm up a bit from three-quarters and it feels like it's over the top," is the way he puts it. It now seems natural and he delivers all his pitches from that same angle.

Amidst all this sunshine, there's a patch of darkness, however. Before he went down he seemed destined for the Los Angeles rotation but now when asked if he thinks starting games may happen this season, he replies, " I'm not sure I'll ever be a starter again. I don't know if my shoulder can take over 100 innings a season".

He refuses to let that blot his happiness, though. "I'm just glad I'm able to get back out there. I just want to able to help some team again, and if that's in short relief or whatever, that's okay."

What team that will be has yet to be determined. They don't really expect him to open the season in Los Angeles, though continued success may alter that. It could be Las Vegas or, taking the cautious "Show me" approach, back in Jacksonville.

During all the time he was off, Greg didn't disappear from the list of top Dodger prospects but he's fallen down from the top (He's currently 10th on the LA Dugout list, which is hardly out of the picture.) If He keeps throwing the way he has, he'll start climbing again such is the quality of the pitches he throws.

For now, he's on the 40-man roster and definitely demonstrating why he was protected. No wonder that he's among the more contented campers with the good times rolling once more.