The schedule for Andrew Miller: No schedule

Plus, McAllister designated to make room

Alex Hooper
August 03, 2018 - 5:19 pm
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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – By Andrew Miller’s schedule, the southpaw is returning to the Cleveland Indians right on schedule.

Miller was activated from the 60-day disabled list Friday after being shut down with right knee inflammation on May 26th. The lefty tossed 5 2/3 innings over seven minor league outings across three levels.

The plan for the lynchpin of the Indians bullpen during his ailment was to take things slow while the team coasted to a 10-game lead in the American League Central.

The schedule for Miller’s return? No schedule.

Manager Terry Francona expressed pre-game that Miller will appear in ‘some situations that may not typically be what he would pitch in.’

That mystery is exactly what Miller is looking for after his predetermined rehab outings.

“I don’t like being scripted and knowing when I’m going to pitch, and those games tend to be, ‘go out the sixth inning,’ or ‘as soon as the starter’s done, you got this,’ or even ‘you’re pitching on Tuesday,’” he said. “As a reliever, you like to be caught off guard, so I think there’s a challenge to it and some guys are better than others.”

With the sizeable lead in the division, those irregular outings will allow Miller the time he needs to get back to his peak without feeling ‘naked.’ The organization hopes that time comes right when in matters in October.

After what player and manager referred to as ‘a regular Spring Training,’ Miller sees his trajectory as similar to a normal season. By that thinking, mid-season form would hit just around the post-season.

“I think as a reliever, thing are a roller coaster some times. I’d love to come out and pitch great right out of the gate, and carry that all the way through to the last game of the season. I think there’s certainly enough time to keep working. I told that to (Indians President Chris Antonetti) and Tito, that I feel both physically and mechanically that I’m in a spot I really like, and I think both of those will get better.”

Prior to his second DL stint of the year, Miller allowed seven earned runs in 14 1/3 innings (4.40 ERA), his worst mark since becoming a full-time reliever.

Miller’s return comes at the peak transition period for the Indians, so close to the deadline. With Francona seeing the roster as stable going forward, he chose the opportunity as best to address his squad.

Media members were cleared out of the Indians clubhouse twenty minutes prior to the end of availability so the skipper could have a meeting to address expectations.

“I had taken some notes over the trading deadline and now it’s the first time where everybody’s in the same room and that’s going to be our team,” Francona said. “I just wanted to tell them that this group, our goal is not to be good, it’s to be special.”

ZFA’ed

To clear room for Miller on the 40- and 25-man rosters, the Indians designated long-time reliever Zach McAllister for assignment.

The 30-year-old had spent his whole Major League career with the Indians since being acquired on August 20, 2010 as a player to be named later in a trade sending OF Austin Kearns to the New York Yankees.

McAllister struggled over 41 appearances in 2018, allowing 23 earned runs in 41 2/3 innings (4.97), after a career year in 2017.

“It was a hard decision and we didn’t really want to lose anybody, but we just felt like it was the right baseball decision to make,” Francona said. “So, we talked to Mac today, he was really professional and my guess is somebody’s going to claim him and the only time we’ll ever root against him is when we face him, because he’s a great kid and he’s a hard worker. As excited as you are to get Andrew back, you have that where you talk to a kid that care about is hard.”