April 20, 2006

Anaheim Angel Chone Figgins has made a living as a professional utility man. Figgins shows up to the ball park every day with a bag nearly as large as he is. The bag contains among other things, five different gloves. Each glove is used at a specific position. He never knows which position he will be playing on any given day, so he comes prepared. Figgins has played every position for the Angels with the exception of first base, pitcher and catcher.

Ohio State freshman Justin Miller knows what that feels like. In his short career he has already played three different positions for the Buckeyes. Miller has no idea where he will be playing until he reads the line-up card posted in the dugout before the game. Miller thinks his versatility will help him earn a spot on the lineup card. Comfortable wherever the coaching staff puts him, Miller knows he can be successful with what ever glove he happens to pull out of his bag on any given day.

What was your favorite Major League team when you were a child?
“The Baltimore Orioles were my favorite team. I’m from Virginia and live about two and a half hours from the ballpark. I didn’t go to that many games when I was young. It was too long of a drive, but my family watched all the games on TV.”

Did you have a favorite player on that team?
“I always liked Cal Ripken Jr., but I didn’t really have just one favorite player. I do like Marcus Giles from the (Atlanta) Braves though. He plays all-out all the time, and that’s what I try to do.”

Where did the nick name “Gus” come from?
“When I was little, a friend of the family had a young daughter and she couldn’t say Justin. She would say Gustin. So they just shortened it to Gus. That’s what everybody called me at home. Even through high school I had teachers who called me Gus.”

You have played three different positions since you arrived in Columbus: catcher, first base and third base. Which do you prefer?
“I think I’m the most comfortable with catching. But I’m fine with the other two. I have played first base the most so far.” Chone Figgins, the utility player from the Anaheim Angels, carries a large bag containing about five different gloves to each game because he never knows where the manager will play him. Do you do the same thing?
“I do actually. I can’t even fit all my stuff in my own bag. I have to carry my cleats and helmet and one glove separate. It makes it interesting using a different glove everyday.”

How many gloves to you bring to the ball park everyday?
“I bring three; one for first base, a catcher’s mitt and a third basemen’s glove.”

When does head coach Bob Todd inform you which position you will be playing?
“Usually when we get to the field and after we get loose they post the lineup.”

Ohio State hasn’t had many players from Virginia play for them before. What was it that made you decide to attend Ohio State?
“When I came out here on my visit I fell in love with the stadium, and then everything else around it. Just the prestige of the place really made me want to come here and be a part of what’s going on here.”

Being a freshman and far from home, how have you found your first year of life college life?
“I think I’ve become pretty comfortable. It kind of feels like home now. I just miss some good home-cooked meals. All the older guys on the team have been really helpful to me. If I ever have a problem I can just ask one of them, and they always give me the best advice they can.”

What are some personal goals you have set for yourself?
“I would like to eventually make it into the starting line-up. If I get in the starting line-up I would like to get a hit every game. That has always been my goal ever since I can remember.