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Miller returns to team, but Tribe remains patient

Injury updates: Salazar, Carrasco, Olson, Anderson
MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- Andrew Miller was back in the Indians' clubhouse on Saturday afternoon, but when the left-hander will be back in a game for Cleveland is anyone's guess at this point.

Prior to Saturday's game against the Tigers, Indians manager Terry Francona reiterated that the ballclub is taking an extremely conservative approach to Miller's comeback from a right knee issue that was problematic last year and had flared again this year. Miller is currently scheduled to focus on rehab work over the weekend with the goal of resuming throwing on flat ground on Monday.

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CLEVELAND -- Andrew Miller was back in the Indians' clubhouse on Saturday afternoon, but when the left-hander will be back in a game for Cleveland is anyone's guess at this point.

Prior to Saturday's game against the Tigers, Indians manager Terry Francona reiterated that the ballclub is taking an extremely conservative approach to Miller's comeback from a right knee issue that was problematic last year and had flared again this year. Miller is currently scheduled to focus on rehab work over the weekend with the goal of resuming throwing on flat ground on Monday.

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Head athletic trainer James Quinlan said there remains no firm timetable for Miller's return from the disabled list. The relief ace was away while tending to a personal matter over the past few days.

"We want to get him back, and let him come back and be himself," Francona said. "The best way to do that is to be patient. I think he's doing really well. I think he's kind of champing at the bit, which is good. But, we really want him to come back [at 100 percent]. We saw the load he carried a couple years ago. For us to get where we want to go, and have the best chance to do that, he's going to carry a big load.

"So, we feel like being patient is the best chance to get there. So, that's what we're going to do."

Miller was shelved from April 26-May 10 due to a strained left hamstring, but then landed back on the DL on May 26 with inflammation in his right knee. It is the same knee that cost Miller roughly five weeks between August and September last year. In 14 1/3 innings this season, the lefty has posted a 4.40 ERA with 23 strikeouts and 10 walks while battling mechanical issues stemming from the knee.

Video: HOU@CLE: Miller induces key inning-ending double play

Francona estimated Miller might not resume throwing bullpen sessions for another 10 days or so.

"When it's not convenient, you still have to do the right thing," Francona said. "I think he understands that, when he was last pitching, he was frustrated with knowing how important he is to the team, the results, the way the ball was coming out of his hand. He wasn't really throwing it where he wanted to. So, I think he gets excited about the chance to be himself, and the best way to do it is the way we're doing it."

Francona supports universal DH
A few hours before Saturday's game against the Tigers, Indians starter Mike Clevinger was on the field, taking a few practice swings with a bat. Clevinger is starting on Monday in St. Louis, meaning the pitcher will need to step into the batter's box under National League rules.

Francona spent the bulk of his playing career in the NL, and managed the Phillies from 1997-2000. He also played in the American League, and has spent 14 seasons as a manager in the AL with the designated hitter. Francona said Saturday that he is in favor of a universal DH.

"I think it should be universal. I've felt that way for a long time," Francona said. "There's so much money in the game, and it's so different when you go play Interleague, even in the World Series. It's just not how you play. I think it would be good for baseball to be uniform."

Francona said he gets nervous when his pitchers have to hit.

"Always. They're doing things they're not used to," he said. "They're using different muscles. Not that they're not in good shape, but they're just doing different things. Yeah, we definitely are holding our breath."

Worth noting
• Right-hander Danny Salazar (60-day DL, right rotator cuff) has resumed throwing again in Arizona. Said Francona: "By all accounts, he's doing fine. We've been here before. When he gets up to the higher intensity, is when we've run into problems. We have not run into a problem this time, though, yet."

• Righty Carlos Carrasco (10-day DL, right elbow contusion) worked through a long-toss session with no issues on Saturday, and he is on target for a mound workout on Monday.

• Lefty Tyler Olson (10-day DL, left lat strain) is "doing well" according to Quinlan, and he could be cleared to resume throwing within the next few days.

• Right-hander Cody Anderson (60-day DL, right elbow) remains in a shut-down period from throwing in his comeback from Tommy John surgery.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Andrew Miller