Editor's Note: Following are excerpts of a recent question and answer session with former Latta standout Drew Miller, who signed a Major League Baseball contract with the San Diego Padres last week. Had he re-entered the draft, Miller — a hard-throwing, right-handed pitcher — was expected to be drafted in the first three rounds:







Ada Evening News: So how does it feel to be Drew Miller, professional baseball player?

Drew Miller: “It’s pretty awesome. It’s a dream come true, I’ll tell you that.”

AEN: So tell me how this whole process of you getting signed came about.

DM: “I knew I had a pretty decent season (at Seminole State College) and I knew a lot of people were looking at me.I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but I knew either way I was going to be set pretty good -- either with Virginia or professional baseball.”

Note: During his sophomore year with the Trojans, Miller finished 3-3 with a 4.29 ERA. In 50 innings pitched, he struck out 76 and surrendered just 24 earned runs according to SSC coach Eric Myers.

AEN: Tell me a little bit about your two years at Seminole State College.

DM: “The program up there is awesome. It’s built to make people stronger. You can’t help but get stronger. We work out so hard and train so hard it just makes you better.”

AEN: So what kind of schedule have the Padres got you on now?

DM: “I’m leaving June 7 and going to Arizona for two weeks and then we’ll see what happens after that. It looks like I’ll be playing for a team in Eugene, Oregon. (The Eugene Emeralds).”

Note: The Emeralds 2006 season is schedule to begin June 19. Eugene is a member of the Class A Short Season Northwest League.

AEN: It’s kind of special that you and your cousin, Brad Miller (also a former Latta player) signed within a week of each other.

DM: “It’s really awesome. It’s what we’ve always talked about I’m just glad it happened. Both of us got what we wanted.”

AEN: Tell me about coming from such a tradition-rich program like Latta.

DM: “We were used to winning. We always succeeded here. Coach (Eddie) Collins taught us how to play baseball the right way.”

AEN: Tell me what would happen if you were on the hill and Brad Miller came to the plate.What would that be like.

DM: “We’ve done it before.”

AEN: When was the last time?

DM: “I pitched to him while he was at Cowley.”

AEN: And what happened during that encounter.

DM: “I struck him out once and walked him twice. So it was kind of even.”

AEN: So you are pretty much even going into this next phase of your careers.

DM: “We don’t look at it like we are in a competition with each other. We’re happy for each other. We’re just glad we have this opportunity and hope to make the most of it.”

AEN: How big of a factor was your pitching coach at Seminole State, Dax Leone, on your success.

DM: “Dax was awesome. He helped me out tremendously.”

AEN: What do you think was the biggest change in going from high school to college?DM: “My body matured and I learned how to pitch. I didn’t throw any more. I actually had to pitch or I would get hit. You just start learning more and more about the game that you didn’t know in high school.”

AEN:I understand you topped out at 96 miles per hour in a game at Seminole State. Is that correct?

DM: “Yeah, 96 or 97. Somewhere in there.”

AEN: You think it’s possible for you to get even faster with the Padres?

DM: “I don’t know. But when I’m throwing that hard, it doesn’t feel like it. It looks like about 80-something to me.”

AEN: That’s got to be a positive.

DM: “I just try to stay loose and make it easy.”

AEN: Have the Padres treated you well so far?

DM: “Absolutely. They have a great system. It seems like they treat their players well and work a lot from their Minor League system. I’m ready to play for them.”

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