CLEVELAND — The Indians have asked their next-door neighbors for some help in treating Andrew Miller’s sore knee.
With the All-Star reliever back on the disabled list with tendinitis, the defending AL champions have reached out to the Cavaliers to see if there is something more they can do with a condition more common in NBA players.
“Really the best diagnosis is rest,” Indians manager Terry Francona said before Tuesday’s game against Boston. “I don’t think Andrew or us really wants to just let it be. He wants to see if he can be proactive as he’s been. And we’ll see where that leads.”
The Indians absorbed a double blow, as not only did Miller go back on the disabled list for the second time in 20 days, but starter Danny Salazar was placed on the 10-day DL with a stiff elbow.
Salazar, who has been dominant in the second half since returning from a DL stint, was scheduled to undergo an MRI. At this point, the Indians don’t seem to think Salazar’s injury is anything more than stiffness.
“I don’t know who pitches now in August who doesn’t feel something,” Francona said.
Ryan Merritt will make Salazar’s next start on Friday against Kansas City. Josh Tomlin, who has been out with a strained left hamstring, will make a rehab start and potentially take Salazar’s spot in the rotation.
Arguably the most indispensable player on Cleveland’s roster, Miller made just seven pitches — all fastballs — in Monday night’s win before taking himself out. The left-hander was making his second appearance since being activated from the DL on Friday.
The Indians had been closely monitoring his usage, and Miller said he was feeling as good as he had in days when there was an unexpected delay in the top of the seventh inning because umpire Hunter Wendelstedt had to leave the game after being struck by a warmup pitch from Boston’s Joe Kelly.
Miller was warming up when Wendelstedt was removed, and the lengthy break before Eduardo Rodriguez took over behind the plate may have played a part in the lefty’s knee flaring up.
“That’s baseball,” Miller said. “I don’t know how Hunter is feeling today, but he’s probably worse off than I am. Those things happen and you can’t predict them and I think it wasn’t good for me, but it is what it is.”
Miller said the Indians’ medical team is gathering as much information as possible before deciding the course of treatment. He said the soreness is not in a spot where it can be treated with a cortisone injection.
Fortunately, the Indians, who entered Tuesday leading the AL Central by 5½ games, have a cushion and some time to get Miller healthy. He helped get them to the World Series last year and is crucial to them getting back. While he’s had another solid season, Miller has not been nearly as dominant and his knee issue has caused a drop in his velocity over the past month.
Still, he’s 4-3 with a 1.65 ERA and two saves in 48 games.
For now, though, Miller is solely focused on getting healthy.
“Ideally we get it completely taken care of,” he said. “It’s something I’ve dealt with in the past a long time ago, and I know that I can get rid of it, so I think getting back to that place is important.”
This is Salazar’s second trip to the DL. The right-hander was out from June 4 to July 22 with a shoulder issue, and the team wanted him to work on his mechanics.
Until his latest outing, Salazar has been one of the AL’s best pitchers in the season’s second half. He went 2-0 with a 1.39 ERA in five starts before allowing six runs and 12 hits in 4 2/3 innings at Kansas City. Overall, Salazar is 5-6 with a 4.30 ERA in 18 games — 16 starts.
To fill the roster vacancies, the Indians recalled right-hander Scott Armstrong and utility man Yandy Diaz.
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