According to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, Indians lefty Andrew Miller is headed back to the DL with right knee inflammation. It’s the same knee issue that caused him problems last year, which is surely incredibly disheartening news to a Cleveland ballclub whose bullpen situation just seems to keep getting worse. For the time being, the Indians have recalled right-hander Evan Marshall from Triple-A Columbus.
A separate tweet from Bastian reveals that the knee has been an underlying issue “the entire time” this season, according to manager Terry Francona. That could be considered good news in the sense that it helps explain Miller’s uncharacteristic struggles this season (he’s pitched to a 4.40 ERA this season, which would be his career high as a full-time reliever). However, it’s obviously deeply concerning news considering the Tribe’s desperate need for Miller to put his health issues behind him and help shore up a bullpen with a 6.23 ERA on the season.
Though Miller’s 14.44 K/9 is right in line with his marks in recent years, it’s his 6.28 BB/9 that stands out as an alarming red flag. That’s more than double his full-season mark in any of the past four years. There’s currently no timetable for his return, but it seems likely that the Indians will proceed with extreme caution considering Miller’s value to the club in the postseason. Despite having a sub-.500 record, Cleveland is currently leading the AL Central and is considered a strong favorite to win the division for the third consecutive year.