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Brad Miller eager for return to Seattle, though with a 'chip'

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Brad Miller (13) fields a grounder and throws for an out in the second inning of a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field on May 1.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Brad Miller (13) fields a grounder and throws for an out in the second inning of a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field on May 1.

Drafted, developed and major-league debuting in Seattle, SS Brad Miller had plenty of good memories from his five years in the Mariners organization before being traded to the Rays in November.

But as he returns tonight for the first time as a visitor, he makes it abundantly clear how much of a good time he is having playing in the Rays relaxed and positive atmosphere.

“I’m definitely looking forward to it. … I learned a ton, I grew up a lot and I learned a lot about myself. So definitely a lot of positive memories,’’ Miller said.

“Like I said when the trade happened, I could not be happier going to an organization that has embraced me with open arms and put a lot of confidence in me, which is really cool.

“I think as baseball players, we always have that chip on our shoulder. We definitely do. We’re competitors, so it’s out nature. It’s something when we go back, I want to win. I want to win. That’s really all it boils down to. You want to beat them, because I’m invested over here now.

“The excitement has not stopped for being over here. It’s been everything I imagined, and more.  … I’m really enjoying it. It’s special, it really is. It’s been a lot of fun.’’

Miller, an Orlando native, was a June 2011 second-round pick by the Mariners out of Clemson, and made his debut two years later. He was the 2014 opening day shortstop and again in 2015, but lost his job late in the season and was shifted to more of a utility role, playing in what was considered around baseball a negative environment.

The Mariners are under new management now, and Miller said he is eager to see the clubhouse, training and stadium staffs, although acknowledging the inherent weirdness of being on the other side of the field.

“I couldn’t be happier to see some familiar faces,’’ he said. “They always treated me well. It’ll be fun.’’

1B Logan Morrison will also be returning for the first time, having been dealt with Miller in the trade for RHP Nathan Karns and LHP C.J. Riefenhauser, whom the M's didn't keep.

[Last modified: Monday, May 9, 2016 1:20pm]

    

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