Andrew Miller arrived in Baltimore Friday morning with a full beard. He had come from the Boston Red Sox, where the growth of facial hair is welcomed, and a few players in the Orioles clubhouse hoped he would remain untrimmed.
But Miller, the Orioles' newly acquired left-handed reliever, caught word quickly that beards "were not expected here," he said. When he met with the media about three hours before Friday's first pitch he was, for the most part, clean-shaven.
"I want to fit in," Miller said. "I don't want to be anything extraneous or unnecessary. I want to seamlessly fit into this team and contribute where I can."
Miller, 29, joined the Orioles Thursday after the Red Sox dealt him at the nonwaiver trade deadline for minor league pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez. The Orioles made room for Miller, who spent three years in Boston, by designating right-handed pitcher Ryan Webb off the 25-man roster.
Miller made his Orioles debut on Friday night after Wei-Yin Chen pitched 7 1/3 strong innings. He needed 14 pitches to record the inning's final two outs, which helped preserve a 2-1 Orioles win.
A year ago, Miller was part of a Red Sox team that ultimately won the World Series. But in early July, before Boston made their postseason run, Miller tore a ligament between bones in the middle of his left foot, and required season-ending surgery.
Miller is now on a first-place team that's hoping he'll play an integral role in its postseason push. Heading into Friday, the Orioles were 1.5 games up on the Toronto Blue Jays — winners of six straight — in the American League East.
"That's the blessing," Miller said. "And that's the goal. I want to come in and help this team. I injured my foot last year and kind of missed out on all the fun. … Hopefully some of that rubbed off on me and how those guys did it and how well they played down the stretch. It looked like a lot of fun to take part in and I'd love to do so myself."
This season, statistically speaking, has been Miller's best in the majors. He's posted a 2.34 ERA and has shown he can pitch effectively to both righties and lefties as he's limited them to .180 and .150 batting averages, respectively.
"That's certainly what I've tried to prove, that I can be more than just a left-on-left specialist," Miller said. "I think I've certainly started to establish that. That's my goal, to show the guys here that I can do that, that I can get both lefthanders and right-handers out. I can pitch to anybody."
The 6-foot-7 Miller spoke highly of the Orioles, especially the bullpen, and said he's happy to be joining the team. He said he's had a tremendous amount of respect for the organization and the way they've competed in the AL East in recent years.
"It seems like it's a really well-run bullpen here," he said. "The fact that guys are flexible and can handle more than one particular type of hitter is certainly an advantage. That'll help us."
Closer Zach Britton said Miller is impressive, given his long and lanky frame.
"Any time a tall lefty, with the angle that he gets and the velocity he gets moving on his slider, it's an uncomfortable at-bat, from what I've heard from our guys," Britton said. "I know yesterday, when I talked to some of the hitters, they're happy that he's with us."
Orioles hitters struggled mightily against Miller, batting just .167 against the former first-round draft pick. Now they're hoping he'll have that same success on opposing batters during the season's final two months.
"He's going to [help] take us a long ways," third baseman Manny Machado said. "We're just glad he's on our side and that we don't have to face him anymore."
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