Miller healthy, but will continue injury rehab

Relief ace looking to fine tune his delivery before joining Tribe

July 29th, 2018

DETROIT -- Beyond ensuring that is healthy, the Indians want to make sure the veteran relief ace has regained his rhythm on the mound before activating him from the disabled list. Based on his recent Minor League rehab outings, Miller has yet to reach that point.
"The good news is he's healthy," manager Terry Francona said prior to Sunday's game against the Tigers at Comerica Park. "He just -- by his own admission -- he's not where he wants to be on the mound."
Miller's latest step arrived on Saturday, when he took the mound for Class A Lake County wearing an orange Cleveland Browns-themed Captains jersey. The Browns went 0-16 last season and Miller's outing did not go well, either. In two-thirds of an inning, the left-hander was charged with four runs (two earned) on three hits with one strikeout and no walks in a 19-pitch effort.
Miller, who is on the 60-day DL, has not pitched for the Tribe since May 25 due to issues with his right knee.
Combined with his previous rehab appearance with Double-A Akron, Miller has allowed eight runs (six earned) in his last inning of work. In that brief span, he has piled up 43 pitches, including 25 strikes. Francona reiterated that the results are less important than how Miller is feeling in his delivery, and that is what remains a work in progress.
"A month from now," Francona said, "when he's striking guys out, nobody's going to care that he had a couple tough outings in the Minor Leagues. But, I think it shows that he needs to pitch, and I think he knows that."
The plan now is to have Miller take Sunday off before resuming his rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus on Monday. The original idea was to have him pitch on consecutive days (Monday and Tuesday), but that step may be pushed back to later in the week. That would, in turn, extend Miller's rehab stint by at least a couple days.
"We just kind of keep talking and communicating with him after every time he pitches," Francona said. "We've waited whatever amount of time it is. It wouldn't seem to make sense to me to rush somebody back before they're ready."
Worth noting
• Outfielder (10-day DL) is dealing with a stress reaction in his right hip, according to Francona. After being examined by team doctors in Cleveland, Naquin is scheduled to head to New York to gather another opinion from specialist Dr. Bryan Kelly. The Indians will have more information in the coming days on Naquin, who dealt with a similar issue in the Minors in 2015.
"It's the same thing he had in '15 at the end of the year that kind of shut him down," Francona said. "And that's what sort of sent up the red flags for us, when he was starting to talk about that area."
• Right-hander Josh Tomlin (10-day DL, right hamstring) is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Tuesday at Target Field. Barring any setbacks, Tomlin could be cleared to begin a Minor League rehab assignment by Friday, per Francona.
• Right-hander (called up from Triple-A on Saturday) remained active on Sunday to provide emergency innings out of the Tribe's bullpen. On Monday, the Indians are expected to officially recall outfielder , who is currently with the Major League club in Detroit. Plutko will likely be optioned back to Columbus.