PAWTUCKET â€“ Finally, thereâ€™s some good news concerning Andrew Miller.
Barring any setbacks, the hurler expects to take the next step in his rehab and join the Pawtucket Red Sox at some point on the teamâ€™s upcoming nine-game road trip. Miller made his second of two appearances with Single-A Greenville Monday, seeking to build off of Saturdayâ€™s one-inning stint that featured no runs on two hits. He did just that, retiring all three batters he faced on two groundball outs and one strikeout.
â€śI felt healthy and thatâ€™s all I can ask for,â€ť said Miller when reached Monday afternoon.
For Miller, just being back on the mound and throwing on a semi-regular basis is reason for optimism, particularly when taking into account the injury-riddled spring he endured. He saw his chance at earning a spot in the starting rotation all but vanish after exiting his March 20 Grapefruit League start with a left hamstring strain. Earlier in camp, Miller was hindered by elbow tightness that forced him to miss an appearance.
â€śAnytime you canâ€™t get on the field, it stinks,â€ť said Miller, who faced a total of 10 batters during spring training, striking out six. â€śI felt good throwing the ball but it was unfortunate that I wasnâ€™t able to get out there and compete more. At the same time youâ€™ve got to move on, get healthy and try to get up and help (the parent club) as quickly as you can and do your part.â€ť
The Red Sox are choosing to start Miller off slowly with the hopes of gradually building his workload up, knowing that the pitcherâ€™s 30-day rehab clock doesnâ€™t end until May 7. Starting games could become an option down the road, yet for now the plan is for the 26-year-old to pitch in relief.
â€śMy understanding of the situation is to just get back and get healthy, but Iâ€™m not stretched out near enough to start,â€ť Miller remarked. â€śI think all signs point towards being ready to help in the bullpen.
â€śI think Iâ€™m there; Iâ€™ve just got to show that Iâ€™m ready to compete at that level,â€ť Miller continued. â€śHopefully Iâ€™ll get that opportunity soon.â€ť
Miller was joined in Greenville by another Red Sox lefty as Rich Hill continues his comeback from Tommy John surgery. Like Miller, Hill pitched Saturday with Hillâ€™s next outing with the Drive scheduled for Tuesday night.
Asked to size up Hillâ€™s outing on Saturday â€“ the 32-year-old needed just 17 pitches to strike out the side in the top of the first inning â€“ Miller replied, â€śHe did great and looks as game ready as you can be. Itâ€™s pretty impressive considering what he was going through a year ago.â€ť