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View Full Version : Milton feels he has a leg up (2/18)



TeamBoone
02-18-2006, 12:58 PM
February 18, 2006
Milton feels he has a leg up
Troubles date to knee injury
BY JOHN FAY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

SARASOTA, Fla. - Based on his legs, Eric Milton thinks things will be better this year.

Milton's miserable 2005 season, he said, might be traced all the way back to March 2003 when he tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee. After the surgery that followed, Milton wasn't able to do the weight work with his legs that he would have liked to do.

"This is the first offseason since '03 that I've been able to really work my legs," he said. "I added weight. I feel a lot stronger in my lower half. Hopefully, it'll be different."

For the Reds to have any chance to compete in the National League Central, Milton is going to have to be radically different.

He was the poster boy for last year's woes. Signing him for $25.5 million over three years gave a lot of hope to the faithful in Redsland.

But Milton was hopeless from the beginning. By mid-June, he was 3-9 with a 7.20 ERA and the Reds were basically done for the year.

Milton ended up going 8-15 with a 6.47 ERA.

He led the majors in home runs allowed with 40 and led the NL in runs allowed with 141.

He had short stretches when he pitched well, including his last two starts.

He went a total of 14 innings, allowing three runs on 10 hits.

He was successful when he got his legs into his motion.

"I started using my legs," he said. "But now, I feel stronger. I feel like I can go back to what I was used to."

Milton isn't that far removed from success. He went 14-6 with Philadelphia in 2004. His ERA was 4.75, but he allowed only 196 hits and struck out 161 in 201 innings. Milton expects to be that guy again.

"I'm very confident," he said. "I threw off the mound the other day. I felt great. (Catcher Jason LaRue) said I was throwing like I did at the end of the season.

"He said it looked like I had never stopped throwing."

Milton has been driving up from Fort Myers on a regular basis recently to work with pitching coach Vern Ruhle. Ruhle has seen a difference.

"It's early," Ruhle said. "He's still trying to get in shape. But he's trying to get his legs into it more. That's the No. 1 thing. He's feeling better about his legs."

Because of his contract, Milton is assured a spot in the rotation. Again, if he's not better than last year, the Reds won't be much better.

"He's going to be pitching in the middle or the top of our rotation," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "It's a matter of being consistent. He's done it throughout his career."

Ruhle said Milton's work ethic gives him a chance.

"This guy is a total professional," Ruhle said. "Guys do amazing things. Guys come back from adversity. That's what makes our game special.

"Guys come back and have career years. You say, 'How did that happen?' A lot of it starts from within. Anything is possible."

Milton isn't looking for a miracle. He merely wants to be Eric Milton again.

"I don't want to go out and do what I did last year," he said. "That's not me. That's not what I've done throughout my career. I feel like I can do what I did in the past - double-digit wins, 200 innings."

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060218/SPT04/602180427/1071

Eric_Davis
02-18-2006, 01:14 PM
Fantastic...great to hear...

Last year was an anomaly...

There was definitely something wrong with his mechanics or his physics (no, it's not age).

Get that corrected and he can give this team an opportunity to win 25 of his 35 starts.

Jpup
02-18-2006, 01:25 PM
"He's going to be pitching in the middle or the top of our rotation," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "It's a matter of being consistent. He's done it throughout his career."

consistently bad. :confused:

creek14
02-18-2006, 02:07 PM
Eric Milton... said... "I added weight."
Maybe Jerry will send him home too. :party:

KronoRed
02-18-2006, 02:08 PM
I hope middle means 5th guy who gets skipped a lot.

Jr's Boy
02-18-2006, 02:55 PM
Dan Obrien should never have another job in the Major Leagues do to this signing.Knowing Miltons track record for giving up the long ball.He just threw caution to the wind hoping Milton would pan out,and ignoring his stats altogether.I hope Milton does pan out and the Reds can at a sub 4 era and get 10 or 12 wins out of him,and thats asking for alot.

corkedbat
02-18-2006, 05:35 PM
He went 14-6 with Philadelphia in 2004. His ERA was 4.75, but he allowed only 196 hits and struck out 161 in 201 innings. Milton expects to be that guy again.



Hey, I've slammed Milton and the contract Dan0 gave him plenty over the last year, but I'd be over-joyed if he could come near his '04 numbers. It wouldn't justify the contract, but if he has to be on the roster and in the rotation I'd take those numbers and run.

I'm not holding my breath though. I'm expecting only slight improvement over last season, but no one will be happier if he proves me wrong.

traderumor
02-18-2006, 05:51 PM
Yadda yadda. He was in camp working hard last spring. Working hard is not his problem, nor is attitude. He simply doesn't have the ability to consistently get out major league hitters.

Honestly, I'd be happy if he'd be inconsistent this year, as in every once in a while having a good outing.

captainmorgan07
02-18-2006, 05:52 PM
hopefully with rhules help he is alil better than last year

TeamBoone
02-18-2006, 08:11 PM
Yadda yadda. He was in camp working hard last spring. Working hard is not his problem, nor is attitude. He simply doesn't have the ability to consistently get out major league hitters.

Honestly, I'd be happy if he'd be inconsistent this year, as in every once in a while having a good outing.

In his defense, he has a different pitching coach... hopefully one that can truly help. Plus, if the leg really was a contributing factor, then I guess recognizing it and working on strengthing it is a step in the right direction.

I hope he makes us all eat crow this year; we'll have a big old sit-down dinner!

Strikes Out Looking
02-18-2006, 08:45 PM
If he can put up '04 numbers the Reds could possibly have a 6 to 9 game positive turnaround (8-15 to 14-6). This in itself would make them a .500 team.

And if not...well I just save 15% on car insurance....

WMR
02-18-2006, 08:49 PM
You gotta love it when spring, baseball, and hope collide.

Aronchis
02-18-2006, 09:04 PM
Milton thinks to himself: I can do it! I can hit 94 again!

Eric throws.........

Yes, was that it?

Ruhle: Sorry Eric, you just hit 90 again......

Milton: doh!!!!!

Krivsky to himself(should we change the guns to make him think he can hit 94 while I fool a other team........hehehe)

TeamBoone
02-18-2006, 09:21 PM
You gotta love it when spring, baseball, and hope collide.

There's your signature!

Newport Red
02-18-2006, 09:31 PM
You gotta love it when spring, baseball, and hope collide.

My thoughts exactly.

I hope he improves at least enough to be tradeable.

MikeS21
02-18-2006, 09:45 PM
I heard Tom Browning say on WLW a few weeks back, that he could straighten Milton out. Of course, I was left wondering if he had ever actually seen Eric Milton pitch. :)

wheels
02-18-2006, 10:35 PM
The guy was a lost cause before he pitched a single inning for the Reds.

I think it's nice that everyone involved is making an effort, and we can't question Milton's desire to get better. No one can accuse him of just sitting on that big wad of cash.

I just don't think it's possible that he will improve himself enough to justify his contract or help the club. The only thing they can do to lessen the negative impact is to use him as a long reliever/swingman type.

Limit his appearances and limit the damage.

corkedbat
02-18-2006, 11:25 PM
I heard Tom Browning say on WLW a few weeks back, that he could straighten Milton out. Of course, I was left wondering if he had ever actually seen Eric Milton pitch. :)

Sounds like Tommy has been lacing his herbage with something a wee bit stronger. :D

Newport Red
02-18-2006, 11:41 PM
I heard Tom Browning say on WLW a few weeks back, that he could straighten Milton out. Of course, I was left wondering if he had ever actually seen Eric Milton pitch. :)

"It's alive" "It's alive!"
I can hardly wait until the commitee of former Reds pitchers meet exibit #1.

Phil in BG
02-19-2006, 07:52 AM
Dan Obrien should never have another job in the Major Leagues do to this signing.Knowing Miltons track record for giving up the long ball.He just threw caution to the wind hoping Milton would pan out,and ignoring his stats altogether.I hope Milton does pan out and the Reds can at a sub 4 era and get 10 or 12 wins out of him,and thats asking for alot.

I totally agree. It makes you wonder if DanO even knew he had knee surgery let alone reviewing his stats before the signing.

RANDY IN INDY
02-19-2006, 08:31 AM
The lack of "legs" was the first thing I noticed about Milton's mechanics, last season. He was all arm. I thought it might be because of the bad knee. He definitely was not driving toward the plate and had very little velocity or movement. I hope he made a concerted effort over the winter to build his legs back, because if he is going to have any success, that is where it has to start. Hope he gets out of the gate good and has some success. A halfway decent first half could possibly get him "flipped" for something useful at the deadline.

M2
02-19-2006, 10:19 AM
If he worked his legs heavily during the offseason, he likely wore down his ever-degenerating knee even more. He's got a bad fulcrum and exercise isn't going to change that.

He has 0% chance of getting his ERA under 4.00. corkedbat's properly identified the faint hope with Milton -- that maybe he could drag himself back to what he did in 2004 (4.75 ERA and don't assume a 14-6 record comes attached to bad pitching like that on a regular basis). It's an extremely remote and unexciting possiblity, but that's where the "dream" is with Milton these days.

Falls City Beer
02-19-2006, 01:04 PM
He has 0% chance of getting his ERA under 4.00. corkedbat's properly identified the faint hope with Milton -- that maybe he could drag himself back to what he did in 2004 (4.75 ERA and don't assume a 14-6 record comes attached to bad pitching like that on a regular basis). It's an extremely remote and unexciting possiblity, but that's where the "dream" is with Milton these days.

And he'll have to beat the crap out of Fate to luck into 4.75 again.

RANDY IN INDY
02-19-2006, 02:38 PM
Originally posted by M2:

If he worked his legs heavily during the offseason, he likely wore down his ever-degenerating knee even more. He's got a bad fulcrum and exercise isn't going to change that.

I may be wrong, but I think the knee problem is on his right knee, which is his lead, or landing leg. He could stand to improve the conditioning on his drive leg, that is, if he can ever stand the constant pounding of landing on the lead leg which is probably going to be a problem for the rest of his baseball life. My thought is that a good first half could possibly make him attractive to a big ballpark team, which looks to me like, is going to be his only ticket to sticking around for any length of time, considering the condition of that lead leg.

Regardless, the Reds have him in the rotation to begin the season. I will be glad if there is any improvement, whatsover. Still think he could benefit in being in a rotation with some hard throwers in a big ballpark. Lets hope he can be dealt at some point.

M2
02-19-2006, 02:43 PM
I may be wrong, but I think the knee problem is on his right knee, which is his lead, or landing leg. He could stand to improve the conditioning on his drive leg, that is, if he can ever stand the constant pounding of landing on the lead leg which is probably going to be a problem for the rest of his baseball life.

I sincerely doubt he's only working out a single leg ... and even if he were, I'm doubtful that two vastly dissimilar legs is a good idea.

And my point was that leg drive doesn't mean squat if you can't come over your landing leg the right way on a consistent basis.

Falls City Beer
02-19-2006, 02:47 PM
I sincerely doubt he's only working out a single leg ... and even if he were, I'm doubtful that two vastly dissimilar legs is a good idea.

And my point was that leg drive does mean squat if you can't come over your landing leg the right way on a consistent basis.

Just like your back--you can "protect" neither leg. The guy's totally knackered. Why he isn't cut is downright sphinx-like to me.

TeamBoone
02-19-2006, 02:50 PM
I think they want to give Ruhle a shot at him.

westofyou
02-19-2006, 02:55 PM
Milton feels he has a leg up

http://www.lower-allen.pa.us/Parks/ParksImages/Dog%20Park%20Pictures/Fire%20Hydrant.JPG

Woof, Woof I know a dog when I see one.

Redsland
02-19-2006, 03:04 PM
If that were Milton, he'd be sniffing an electric fence.

:)

KronoRed
02-19-2006, 03:32 PM
I think they want to give Ruhle a shot at him.
http://lastperson.suncircle.org/Smileys/default/268345.gif

RANDY IN INDY
02-19-2006, 03:33 PM
I sincerely doubt he's only working out a single leg ... and even if he were, I'm doubtful that two vastly dissimilar legs is a good idea.

And my point was that leg drive does mean squat if you can't come over your landing leg the right way on a consistent basis.

I don't think Milton would work to make his legs "vastly dissimilar" as you put it. I know from my own baseball pitching experience that my right leg was much stronger and a little larger than my landing leg. My right arm was slightly larger than my left arm.


"This is the first offseason since '03 that I've been able to really work my legs," he said. "I added weight. I feel a lot stronger in my lower half."


Milton has been driving up from Fort Myers on a regular basis recently to work with pitching coach Vern Ruhle. Ruhle has seen a difference.

Regardless of the condition of the knee, it looks like he has been working, and I would hope that from a medical standpoint, Kremchek and the Reds had something to say about the kind of work that he has been doing. It's real easy to make a prediction that he is going to fail, but I see it as a positive thing that he is giving himself a chance by being a professional and giving it his best shot. That's all anyone can ask for at this point.

As far as the last part of your quote, you aren't telling me anything that I don't know and didn't address in my last comments.

It is what it is. The former regime signed him, which hasn't been a good thing to this point, and it may never be. My position is the hope that he can be good enough for a short time to be dealt at some point.

wheels
02-19-2006, 04:49 PM
Man....I hope Milton's leg work makes him go all John Smiley on everyone.

But the reality is that Milton's got alot of work to do to just reach John Bale territory, and no team would be willing to pony up anything for that.

Raisor
02-19-2006, 06:21 PM
Man....I hope Milton's leg work makes him go all John Smiley on everyone.




eek..having the guy break his arm is a bit hardcore.

TeamBoone
02-19-2006, 07:47 PM
02/19/2006 3:05 PM ET
Last season a distant memory for Milton
With legs at full strength, healthy lefty goes for rebound
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

SARASOTA, Fla. -- For Reds pitcher Eric Milton, spending much time dwelling on his poor 2005 season might seem like an exercise in self torture.
An 8-15 record, a 6.47 ERA and a club-record 40 home runs allowed aren't the kind of numbers that age well, like a fine wine. Milton did the only thing he could do. He tried to forget about it.

"It wasn't easy, that's for sure," Milton said. "It was the worst season I've ever had, as far as the mental aspect and going through the struggles I went through."

Instead of focusing on what's behind him, the left-hander immediately went back to work.

The 30-year-old figured it wasn't his arm that was betraying him, but his legs. Milton endured two surgeries on his left knee while with the Twins, including a major operation that wiped out all but one month of the 2003 season. Even during 2004, with the Phillies, he felt like his legs weren't ready to handle the long workload of a season.

"In Minnesota, I was a lot bigger and a lot stronger. I lost a lot of weight with the knee surgery," he said. "This was the first offseason I've been able to lift heavy weights with my legs. I've gotten a lot stronger and a little bigger -- back to where I used to be. I think it helped a lot."

Milton said the muscle added this winter has pushed his weight closer to where he was with the Twins. Listed at 207 pounds last season, he was around 230-235 pounds with Minnesota.

"That probably will pay dividends for him," pitching coach Vern Ruhle said. "I think anytime you work at something, you have a chance to get better. He's done that."

For most pitchers, their power and endurance comes from using the strength in their legs. When in his delivery, Milton said he was unable to finish off his pitches the way he would have liked. He doesn't believe that will be an issue this year.

"After my last surgery, I'm finally back to normal," Milton said. "It's good not to have that in the back of my mind."

Milton's history shows he's prone to giving up the long ball, but he is still good at finding ways to win. A year before he arrived in Cincinnati, he surrendered 43 homers but went 14-6 with a 4.75 ERA. From 2000-04, he enjoyed four seasons of double-digit wins despite never having an ERA below 4.00.

What was so different about last season?

"It was the amount of baserunners -- singles, doubles and triples," Milton said. "I'd rather give up a solo homer than three straight singles and a double. Too many hits, too many baserunners. Usually, I'm right around a hit per inning, but last year I was way off the charts. It's something I have to focus on."

The Reds signed Milton as a free agent to a three-year, $25.5 million contract before last season and hoped he would be the centerpiece of the staff. Now the club is hoping that the return on its investment will finally come one year later. The Reds' chances at being competitive this season could hinge on it.

"He's had success, so you can say it's likely he'll find it again," Ruhle said. "He's already experienced it. That's what I'm looking for -- for him to lead himself back that way.

"A lot of times, you don't have to do a lot. Give them room to work, and they have the ability to process it themselves. You're not starting from scratch like you would with a rookie. He's a professional. He's going to rely on those experiences."

And so will Cincinnati.

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060219&content_id=1315704&vkey=spt2006news&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

Falls City Beer
02-19-2006, 08:18 PM
Why is it that every time someone with a big contract stinks up the joint it's because of some "phantom" injury? And I'm not limiting this observation to the Reds, of course. It's never that a guy just sucks. Nah. Couldn't be that. It's always got to be an injury, retroactively "discovered." Please. :rolleyes:

wheels
02-19-2006, 09:49 PM
eek..having the guy break his arm is a bit hardcore.


That's not what I meant!

I swear.:laugh:

Aronchis
02-19-2006, 11:48 PM
Why is it that every time someone with a big contract stinks up the joint it's because of some "phantom" injury? And I'm not limiting this observation to the Reds, of course. It's never that a guy just sucks. Nah. Couldn't be that. It's always got to be an injury, retroactively "discovered." Please. :rolleyes:

When he was with the Twins, he threw 93-94mph fastball "regularly". Simple as that. It was what kept him in the league considering his so so stuff.

He was more hittable last year, precisely because he was topping out at 91 most of his starts instead of 95 like during his glory days. Matter of fact, his better games last year came mostly when his fastball was "up" those days, like at 93mph. Milton's fastball is everything to him. If he can't throw the heat, his career is over.