Andrew Miller activated, on 'schedule' for near future

Indians bullpen worst in bigs by almost four runs per nine in absence

Alex Hooper
May 11, 2018 - 5:33 pm
Apr 23, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller (24) pitches during the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Cleveland Indians defeated Baltimore Orioles 2-1.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – MLB’s worst bullpen over the last two weeks has their anchor back in tow.

Left-hander Andrew Miller was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Friday after missing 14 days with a left hamstring strain. Lefty Tyler Olson was added to the paternity list while his wife was said to be inducing labor Friday morning.

Manager Terry Francona said that the Indians considered sending Miller for a rehab game in the minors before activating him, but the pair decided that facing big league hitters would benefit him more.

“He honestly couldn't say that that would help him,” the skipper said. “I think he feels like facing Major League hitters is really the only way. So, you might see him on a little bit of a schedule the first week back, just to try to get him on a roll where we get him back into that mid-season form where he can be a big weapon.”

It will more than likely benefit the Indians, who posted a 9.50 ERA in 36 innings with Miller absent, almost double the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2nd-worst 5.43 mark in that span.

Miller noted that the last time he missed extended time with an injury, the Indians had completed the majority of their American League-record 22 game winning streak in 2016, so his presence alone does not make or break the bullpen.

After a rough weekend in The Bronx against the New York Yankees, the relief corps found an inkling of collective success in Milwaukee, posting two innings of scoreless ball against the Brewers.

“Hopefully that's what contagious and catches on right now,” Miller said. “I think the talent is there. The ability is there. We know what we're capable of. These guys have all done it the last couple of years, it's not some short track record. It's just a matter of a matter of us going out there and executing."

With Miller’s injury and the overall struggles that stemmed from it, the Indians have since selected the contract of Jeff Beliveau, designated him for assignment and outrighted him to Triple-A Columbus; designated and released Matt Belisle to make room for Ben Taylor, who has since been optioned back to Columbus, selected the contract of Evan Marshall and Alexi Ogando, optioned Ogando, placed Nick Goody on the 10-day DL and traded for Oliver Drake.

In a search for bullpen stability, the team has created a sense of flux, something common to most bullpens, but not for some time in Cleveland.

Miller, Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw had created the perfect 1-2-3 in relief of the team’s already dominant starters, but with Shaw gone and Miller shelved, the Indians have seen a crack in the armor.

“We’re going to be fine as a unit. We’re going to be an important part of this team,” Miller said. “Especially if we’re going to do anything that we’re trying to accomplish. The bullpen is going to be part of that. When things aren’t going well and guys are getting hurt or guys are getting sent out, that’s the tough part of the game. The best thing we can do is try to move on.”