CLEVELAND -- The Indians have made a decision on Andrew Miller.
Rather than have Miller (patellar tendinitis right knee) pitch another simulated game today, Cleveland will activate the left-hander from the disabled list.
Miller pitched a simulated game Monday at Progressive Field, with the Indians feeling one of the game’s best relief pitchers is ready to go.
“He feels great,” pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. “The mechanics of it, the way he’s bracing himself when he’s throwing his slider, which was the real issue when his knee was bothering him, are all really good. We’ve been keeping track of the numbers during his simulated games and the spin, the velocity, the break, all those things are well in line with what he does during the season.
“So, we’re very encouraged with everything so far.”
Miller’s first attempt to come back from the injury ended after only two appearances, but the Indians feel a different, more aggressive rehab approach has been beneficiary.
Miller, who hasn’t pitched since Aug. 21, has appeared in 48 games, posting a 1.65 ERA, while striking out 79 batters over 54 2/3 innings.
Yandy Diaz struggled to a .203 batting over 18 games during two separate stints on the big-league roster at the start of the season, but things have gone much better this time around.
Since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Aug. 22, Diaz is batting .323 (20-for-62) with five doubles, eight RBIs and 14 runs over 20 games.
“I think a sense of belonging has helped his hitting,” manager Terry Francona said. “He’s going up there taking, at times, some pretty ferocious swings. I still think another 5-, 6-, 700 at-bats, his better hitting is in front of him. But he’s a good hitter. His defense is really improving, which is good, but I think he understands now, he’s got 100 at-bats or so, he can do this.”
Diaz spent some time in the outfield, but Francona sees him as a future third baseman.
“Sometimes it’s based on needs,” Francona said. “I think the hope would be that he can be maybe an everyday third baseman. Earlier in the season when we needed an outfielder, we were so banged up ... He’s worked hard to be a third baseman. I think that may be his best position, but who knows? When you find guys that can hit like that, we’ll find a place.”
Home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott was hit in the chest in the third inning, when catcher John Hicks failed to handle a pitch from Tigers starter Buck Farmer.
It came two batters after Detroit manager Brad Ausmus and catcher James McCann were ejected by Wolcott, with the Cleveland television broadcast implying it was intentional.
“Hicks got crossed up on the pitch, he assumed it would be a slider away, and Farmer threw a fastball. Plus the bases were loaded,” Ausmus said. “For anyone to imply that that was intentional, that’s a lie. If one of our players tried to intentionally hurt an umpire, we would handle it, severely. The Indians’ TV people were out of line in saying that.”
The Indians wrap the homestand with a four-game series against Kansas City that begins tonight at 7:10.
RHP Josh Tomlin (9-9, 5.13 ERA) opens the set for Cleveland, opposing RHP Jakob Junis (7-2, 4.34), while RHP Trevor Bauer (16-8, 4.33) goes for the Indians on Friday (7:10 p.m.) against LHP Jason Vargas (15-10, 4.15).
RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-6, 3.41) starts for the Indians on Saturday (4:10 p.m.) against RHP Jason Hammel (8-11, 4.91).
RHP Corey Kluber (16-4, 2.44) goes for Cleveland in the series finale Sunday (1:10 p.m.), with the Royals yet to name a starter.
All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor leads the Indians with a .370 (30-for-81) batting average, nine home runs, 19 RBIs and 19 runs during the 21-game winning streak. ... Tonight, 7:10, STO; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM.