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Q & A with MLB Network's Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar drops some nuggets about this year's Red Sox.Getty Images

MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar is teaming up with Leinenkugel to celebrate the return of craft’s most popular summer seasonal beer – Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy.

"When you're getting yourself ready for baseball season, grab a beer and bam," Millar said.

The former Red Sox first baseman also talked some baseball with Metro, looking forward to the 2015 season.

Metro: What did you think of the Red Sox offseason, addressing their lineup first and foremost?

Millar: Their lineup last year was terrible to watch. It was a rough year. They went through some injuries. It was just one of those years. It was the first time in history we've seen it now -- last place in 2012, to World Series champs in 2013 and back to last place in 2014. They have needs to address and when you have a year like theyhad -- it's offense, pitching, it's everything.

I think they bolstered their offense. I like Pablo Sandoval. I think he's a high-energy guy. I think the Hanley Ramirez thing in left field -- hey, he's never played left field, but it's the Green Monster. It's one of those left fields where you can play without a lot of experience. I like what they did.

Metro: What are you looking for from Clay Buchholz this season and what did you think of Curt Schilling's criticism of the right-hander?

Millar: The problem that we have in society is I think we all try and paint this perfect athlete in everyone that we address. Clay Buchholz is Clay Buchholz. He has great stuff. I think he's a guy that had a rough year last year, but we saw the brilliance that he has in his back pocket. The year before that I think he started out 9-0. You see the ace type stuff, but Clay doesn't have to have the mentality of an ace to get outs and to win games in the big leagues.

I thought he worked hard this offseason. We live very close to each other so [I know] he was in there everyday working out with John Lackey, Brandon Workman, and that is all you can ask for. I think it is unfair to judge a guy's character when the work ethic was there. Clay understands he had a bad year, he knows that. It is his job to bounce back and he did the right steps and worked hard to hopefully have a good year for himself.

Metro: Does it matter the Red Sox don't have an "ace?"

Millar: I think that isthe one question everyone has talked about -- the Red Sox don't have an ace. Well you know what, there are only five aces in the world. Just because you start Opening Day on a big league team doesn't mean you're an ace. I think they have 5-6 guys that go out and compete. Justin Masterson is a guy, he's got to throw strikes. It wouldn't shock you if he bounced back also. Wade Miley, Rick Porcello -- they have guys.

Metro: What are your thoughts on the AL East?

Millar:I think the Rays will probably be there at the end of the road. The Orioles, how do you bet against them every year with Buck Showalter? They always find a way to do it. The Blue Jays, are you sold on their starting pitching? Offensively they have added [Josh] Donaldson over there at third base and they added [Russell] Martin at catcher so they are always going to be tough offensively.

If you were to ask me, not playing Red Sox homer, I think the Red Sox are the best team in that division right now and the Yankees, I don't know what the Yankees are. I don't know if they are a fourth place team, a third place team, I think the Red Sox are much better and will play much better than they did last year. You can flip a coin in that division.

Metro: Why is Red Sox/Yankees not what it once was?

Millar: It's just a changing of the guards right now. [Derek] Jeter, this is the first year you'll see the Yankees without Jeter at shortstop. That is going to be weird. I don't care if you are a Yankees fan or not. You always have this transition in baseball. I just think the rivalry has taken a backseat a little bit because both teams have to be good also. You haven't seen both teams be good at the same time in awhile. How do you have a rivalry when you have a team in last place and the other team in the middle of the road?

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