CLEVELAND -- The steady rain that fell on Progressive Field on Thursday morning, necessitating a tarp in the center-field bullpen, eliminated the thought of a mound session for Andrew Miller. He may feel ready for that step, but the Indians are remaining conservative with the relief ace, given his importance.
Miller is on the 10-day disabled list with a left hamstring injury, but he will travel with the Tribe to New York for this weekend's series against the Yankees. The left-hander will be eligible for activation on Sunday -- a realistic possibility -- and manager Terry Francona said Miller will need to get some work off a mound before rejoining the active roster.
"He's champing at the bit to throw that bullpen [session]," Francona said prior to Thursday's doubleheader against the Blue Jays. "That's the big step for him, is when he gets off the mound, because you start to use your legs. He's throwing right now and feeling nothing, but he's on flat ground.
"When he gets on the mound and starts going downhill, that's when we'll know more. I think the trainers are trying to hold him back a bit. I get it."
If Miller remains on target for activation on Sunday, his bullpen session would likely take place on Friday at Yankee Stadium. That would put him in line to potentially make an appearance in Sunday's game, which is followed by a team off-day Monday ahead of next week's two-game road set against the Brewers.
In 11 appearances for the Indians this season, Miller has allowed no runs over 10 innings, striking out 17 and walking four with six hits surrendered. Heading into Thursday's game, Cleveland's bullpen had posted an ERA of 9.00 with an opponents' OPS of 1.076 in 22 innings in the seven games with Miller on the DL.
"If he's ready, we're going to activate him," Francona said. "We just desperately want to do the right thing, and it's really hard when somebody's that good."
• Utility man Gio Urshela's Minor League rehab assignment (10-day DL, right hamstring) expired on Wednesday, meaning the Indians need to make a decision on his roster status. Francona said no decision had been made as of pregame on Thursday. Both Urshela and Erik Gonzalez are out of Minor League options, so there is only room for one on the Tribe's active roster.
"I know we're getting close to bumping up against [the deadline]," Francona said. "I think for obvious reasons, we're waiting as long as we can, because we're going to have to make a decision on one of them. And more than likely, we'll lose the other one. So, if we made a decision prematurely and somebody got hurt, boy, we'd really be kicking ourselves. So, that's where we are."
• Prior to Thursday's doubleheader, the Indians officially recalled right-hander Adam Plutko from Triple-A Columbus, making him the 26th man for the twin bill against Toronto. Plutko was scheduled to start the second game.
• Due to the timing of the rainouts between the Blue Jays and Indians last month, the teams did not get to wear the No. 42 jerseys as a tribute to Jackie Robinson, who broke MLB's color barrier with the Dodgers in 1947. Both Toronto and Cleveland wore Robinson's number for Game 1 of the doubleheader.