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Miles happy to have fresh start

Miles happy to have fresh start

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- If there was a machine that could eradicate an entire season from a player's career and wipe it from memory, utility infielder Aaron Miles would be all too happy to press the button.

Spring Training is always full of players seeking fresh starts, and as a new player in Reds camp, Miles is certainly one of them.

"I'm just excited to get last year behind me and get back to the baseball I know I can play," Miles said.

After he signed a two-year, $4.9 million contract with the Cubs on Dec. 31, 2008, Miles did not fulfill expectations and batted .185 in 74 games last season.

The campaign also included two trips to the disabled list -- for a strained right shoulder in May and a hyperextended right elbow that caused a nearly six-week stay that began in June.

And there was more on top of that.

"I had some personal problems, too, with my marriage," said Miles, who was going through a divorce that's still not finalized. "But for the most part, the injuries were hard to overcome early in the year. Once I started to get a little healthy, I didn't have that many at-bats under me. I didn't get a whole lot of playing time at the end of the year when I could have come on."

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Over his seven big league seasons with the White Sox, Rockies, Cardinals and Cubs, Miles is a .282 career hitter with a .322 on-base percentage. He was part of the 2006 Cardinals World Series winner under then-St. Louis general manager Walt Jocketty.

Manager Dusty Baker has managed against Miles' teams often and knows him well. Baker doesn't yet know exactly how he will make use of Miles off the bench.

Miles can play second base, third base, shortstop and even some outfield if needed.

"He's a scrappy little player that gives you what he has. He's a tough out," Baker said.

On Feb. 1, the Reds acquired Miles and a player to be named from the A's for Willy Taveras and Adam Rosales. Miles had been traded from the Cubs to Oakland only in December.

"Initially, I was excited to get traded to Oakland because I'm from the area," Miles said. "I could play and keep my kids there. But right away they told me they were planning on trading me. After finding out it was Cincinnati to play for Walt Jocketty and Dusty Baker, I was very excited and knew it was a better fit for me. It's a team in the NL Central that has seen what I can do."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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