Andrew Miller put on DL with shoulder ailment

August 29th, 2018

CLEVELAND -- has endured five months of starting and stalling this season in an effort to get fully healthy and primed for an October run with the Indians. The big left-hander encountered another setback on Wednesday.

Prior to the Tribe's game against the Twins, the Indians placed Miller on the 10-day disabled list (retroactive to Monday) due to an external impingement in his left shoulder. This marks Miller's third trip to the DL this season, following issues with his right knee (May 26) and left hamstring (April 26).

"It was the right thing to do for him," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We've talked about it before: Even when it's maybe not convenient, you need to do the right thing. Andrew is going to pitch for a long time and he's carried such a big load for us that we need to look out for him a little bit, too."

Miller, who pitched on Friday and Sunday in Kansas City, reported feeling discomfort in his shoulder on Tuesday, according to Francona. The Indians had Miller undergo imaging, which showed swelling in the shoulder bursa (a fluid-filled sac that protects the tendons). Francona noted that Miller received a cortisone injection which "will hopefully knock it right out."

Francona said Miller will be shut down from throwing for four or five days before building up his arm again. The manager emphasized that there is no established timetable for the lefty's return.

"Once we get to Sept. 1, we're just going to go off of Andrew," Francona said. "We're going to do what's right by him. We'll update you as we go. We just don't know what that is."

To replace Miller in the bullpen, Cleveland recalled lefty from Triple-A Columbus. The Indians will continue to lean on Brad Hand and as the main late-inning options, with lefty and righties and Dan Otero filling matchup roles. Right-hander Josh Tomlin is assuming the spot recently vacated by righty (10-day DL, back spasms), who was slated to pitch for Double-A Akron on Wednesday.

In light of Miller's uncertain status, there is also the chance that Cleveland could explore any available trade possibilities prior to Friday's postseason roster deadline. Players exposed to revocable waivers in August can be traded to a claiming team (or pulled off waivers), or be dealt to any team if they go unclaimed. An acquired player must be added to a team's roster by Aug. 31 in order to be eligible for the playoffs.

Miller was activated from the DL on Aug. 3 after the bout with the knee issue, and he responded with a 1.86 ERA in 9 2/3 innings across 10 appearances this month. The lefty has not, however, appeared in consecutive games since July 30-31 during a Minor League rehab stint. Miller has not worked in back-to-back games in the Majors since May 22-23, which came three days prior to his previous trip to the DL.

Miller said his knee has felt strong, but likened the issues with his shoulder to the kind of "dead arm" period that many pitchers deal with during Spring Training.

"I need to get out there and get reps, and I want to be a part of this," Miller said. "But I think we still have plenty of time for that. Minor setback. It's frustrating. It's been a frustrating stretch for quite a while for me, but I think it's the right thing to do. It's going to make a big difference, and it'll help me."

Overall this season, Miller has a 3.38 ERA with 33 strikeouts against 13 walks in 24 innings (27 games).

"Sometimes things happen, so you just do the best you can," Francona said. "He's not going to quit and we're not going to quit, either. You make adjustments when you have to."