Star Indians reliever Andrew Miller left his appearance today with what the team is calling an aggravation of the right knee patella tendinitis that recently sent him to the DL, as MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian tweets. His outlook is not currently known.
Miller missed little more than the minimum earlier this month, and threw without apparent issue on Friday. But he exited after just seven pitches tonight, issuing a walk and showing a significantly reduced fastball velocity. Miller, who typically sits at 95 mph, was clocked at an average of around 90 mph this evening.
It’s too soon to know whether there’s cause for real concern. And Cleveland can afford to exercise caution with a five-game lead (entering today’s action) in the AL Central. Still, at this stage of the season, it’s a bit worrying to see such a showing from such an important piece of the team’s hopeful post-season roster.
Even if it turns out that Miller’s situation is serious, the Indians would have no realistic hope of finding a similarly valuable arm on the August trade market. With Boone Logan possibly out the rest of the way, though, any questions surrounding Miller could leave the club with added impetus to find another southpaw reliever.
Fortunately for Cleveland, Tyler Olson has been a revelation since ascending to the MLB roster. Through 11 appearances this year — already matching a career-high — Olson has racked up 13 strikeouts (on a 13.6% swinging-strike rate) against just one walk without allowing a run.
The Indians also announced that first baseman Carlos Santana departed the contest with lower-back tightness. There’s little reason at this point to believe that is an injury of any significance.