|Kevin Millar on M&M: Interleague play ‘does take away a little bit from the American League teams’||07.01.11 at 1:34 pm ET|
Kevin Millar spoke with Mut & Merloni Friday afternoon to talk Red Sox and Interleague play. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Millar said that Interleague play “does take away a little bit from the American League teams.”
“It’s a little different-looking when you look at [Josh] Beckett instead of David Ortiz,” Millar said. “That’s where American Leagues take a notch back: when you’ve established a DH, and you have to take him out of the lineup.”
The lack of a designated hitter in the National League wasn’t the real problem with Interleague play, Millar said, adding that he liked it because it let fans watch superstars they wouldn’t normally see.
“The problem I have is the parity of the scheduling,” Millar said. “The Red Sox draw the Phillies, ok, so let’s just the say the Yankees drew the Pittsburgh Pirates. … That’s not fair.”
Added Millar, “It’s kind of funny to see the American League pitchers swing the bat.”
Of the decision to move Adrian Gonzalez to right field, Millar said the risk of injury outweighed getting Ortiz extra at-bats.
“Is it worth Adrian blowing out his elbow on a play at the plate – because of course he’s going to try to throw him out at home – to get David Ortiz a game in?” Millar said. “You look at it that way, you’re thinking ‘no, you’re right.’ But, Papi needs to play. You can’t sit him nine days.”
Millar said that Josh Reddick also needs more playing time.
“You have to play the hot hand,” Millar said. “… He’s swinging the bat as well as anybody in the big leagues, so let him play out there. He’s got some nice tools.”
Millar called Mike Cameron a “tremendous professional,” but said that age may have contributed to his reduced playing time and designation for assignment.
“You just get to an age and things slow down,” Millar said. “… He just didn’t have the bat speed.”
Added Millar, “I don’t think Boston was a great fit for him when he’s not the everyday guy.”
While Millar would not predict whether or not Jonathan Papelbon would return to the Red Sox next season, he liked where Papelbon is at this season.
“He’s in tremendous shape,” Millar said. “His velocity is back, his arm speed’s back, but he looks great. Is he going to be too expensive? I don’t know.”
Millar also said that closers are “weird dudes,” and that the mentality necessary to be a closer doesn’t always translate to success in other relief roles. He agreed that this might be the case with Bobby Jenks.
Millar called the six-man rotation, which both Terry Francona and Yankees manager Joe Girardi have considered using this season, “a little funky.”
“I don’t know when the last World Series champion team had a six-man rotation,” Millar said. “It’s just a little odd; guys need roles.”
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