Notes: Millar sets unique benchmark

Notes: Millar sets unique benchmark

CLEVELAND -- Kevin Millar was 1-for-3 with a walk in Saturday's 7-4 win over the Indians. It wasn't a particularly distinguishing performance, with one minor exception.

It was Millar's 1,002nd Major League game, breaking an interesting record. Millar has now played in more games than any non-drafted player who started his career in the Independent Leagues during the Draft era, passing Rey Ordonez.

Millar was undrafted coming out of high school, junior college and college, and he played for the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League before being signed by the Marlins in 1993. But he has established a solid, lengthy Major League career. He's a career .286 hitter, with 922 Major League hits.

"Yeah, it was vitamin B12 that did it, that made it possible," Millar joked. "Yeah, it's cool. Especially being undrafted and in the Northern League."

Millar usually visits the Saints whenever his team makes a road trip to play the Twins. He wasn't able to do so this year, but he still likes to talk to current Indy leaguers.

"I used to go back there every year," Millar said. "This year I missed it. And I told those guys, I was them. And I'm no different than them now. And I think a lot of guys can relate. Guys like myself have faith.

"I never gave up. I always believed in it. No one else did. It is cool, because you look back, it wasn't an easy way to get here. I think that's what makes this game awesome, is you can play it at David Eckstein's size, and you can play it at Randy Johnson's size."

Millar still laughs at what considers to be his complete lack of tools, despite a successful Major League career.

"It wasn't so much my bat," he said. "I just think it's the grit. I never gave up. It's easy to say, 'Well, I'm not going to make the big leagues.' Well, [obviously] I'm probably not going to make the big leagues. I wasn't drafted. [Giving up is] an easy thing to do.

"I never gave up, I never believed all the negative stuff. Because I couldn't run, I can't throw, I can't field, I don't have great power. I was a right-handed corner guy without big power. I had no tools. I didn't have a tool box. That's what makes this game special, because you can't teach instincts, you can't teach what's inside of a person. You can't teach the love of the game."

Manager Sam Perlozzo laughed when told the statistic. But once the laughter died down, Perlozzo spoke glowingly of Millar.

"There's a whole lot to be said about heart in the game," Perlozzo said. "You're going to have some people with a little bit of heart, who believe in themselves, who no one ever thinks are good enough.

"He's got a lot of heart, he pays attention, and he's a professional. Those things all add up eventually."

A better Bedard: Erik Bedard's victory Saturday was his 10th of the season. It marked the first time in his professional career that he has won 10 games in a season. Until 2006, his professional high for wins was nine, and that came in 2001 at Class A Frederick.

"Everyone has seen his potential," Perlozzo said. "But potential only goes for so long. Sooner or later, you've got to put it out there.

"He's really progressed this year in a lot of ways. His attitude about what he wants to get done, the seriousness that he's taking his job now, the effort that he puts into it, it's all gone to another level for him.

Gibbons update: Jay Gibbons has been on the DL since early June with a sprained right knee. Perlozzo said before Sunday's game that Gibbons is progressing, and should return in "a couple of weeks."

Trivia question: Who is the franchise's all-time leader in hit batsmen?

Fowlish facts: Orioles relievers entered Sunday 11-12 this season with a 4.78 ERA and have saved 22 games in 32 opportunities. ... Baltimore has had 10 or more hits in 41 games this season. ... The O's have hit only 36 home runs in their last 48 games. ... Jeff Conine has hit in safely in 13 of his last 14 games. ... The Orioles optioned Ed Rogers to Triple-A Ottawa after Sunday's game. They will add Chris Gomez to the 25-man roster after he completes a rehab stint in Double-A Bowie on Monday.

The answer: Barney Pelty, who pitched from 1903-1912, hit exactly 100 batters in his career.

On deck: The Major League All-Star break begins Monday. The Orioles resume action Thursday when they host the Texas Rangers. The Orioles will send right-hander Daniel Cabrera (4-6, 5.15 ERA) against right-hander Vicente Padilla (8-5, 4.44 ERA). First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. ET.

Andrew Bare is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.