Francona: Miller could rejoin Tribe on Friday

All-Star reliever slated for Triple-A rehab outing Wednesday

August 14th, 2017

BOSTON -- In the midst of a four-city, 10-game road trip, the Indians had some encouraging news on the prospects of All-Star reliever rejoining the group before it's all said and done.

Out since Aug. 3 with patellar tendinitis in his right knee, the left-hander threw bullpen sessions Friday and Sunday at Tropicana Field. He showed enough for manager Terry Francona to announce Monday that his reliever will embark on a rehab outing at Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday against Rochester at 7:05 p.m. ET.

"The way he threw the ball the last couple of days was so nice to see," Francona said. "You could tell he felt better with his delivery. It was a good thing. It was hard to do it, but I'm glad we did it."

Following Sunday's series finale in St. Petersburg, Cleveland headed to Boston for a one-game makeup Monday against the Red Sox -- a 7-3 win -- while Miller went back to Cleveland, where he will work out at the team's facilities Tuesday before heading to Columbus.

With the Indians playing the Twins in Minneapolis on Thursday at 1:10 p.m. ET, Francona thought Miller's best option would be to join the club Friday in Kansas City instead.

"It would be hard, especially after he pitches the first time back, to fly to Minnesota for a noon [CT] game," Cleveland's skipper said. "That doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But I would say, everything goes according to plan, Friday he'll probably join us."

Before the injury, Miller was 4-3 with a 1.67 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 54 innings.

Since becoming a full-time reliever, Miller's most innings were the 74 1/3 he tossed with the Yankees and Indians last season.

While getting Miller's power arm back will boost the Indians, Francona also knows that he has to pull back a bit on using the lefty in an effort to preserve him for a potential postseason run.

"I'm going to have to put the reins on myself a little bit when we get him back," Francona said. "It's such a weapon that -- until we get him back pitching like he has been -- we're going to have to maybe ratchet it back at least a little bit. His innings have gotten so I wasn't real happy with myself, where we've got to keep an eye on that. We've got to remember, we've got to get to where we want to go. But, if we get there, that's when you really lean on guys and don't want them to be on fumes."