Notes: Miller indebted to Tribe
Right-hander grateful for Indians' commitment, support
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- No one's going to show up at his door in the middle of the night threatening to break his kneecaps, but Matt Miller still feels like he is in tremendous debt to the Indians.While elbow injuries have taken a major toll on Miller each of the past two seasons, the organization has stuck with him. And now that his arm is feeling better than it has in years, Miller wants to pay the Tribe back. "I'm ready to throw 90 games for this club, if they let me," Miller said. "I owe them a lot for what they've done for me." The Indians won't be asking the 35-year-old Miller to throw in 90 games, but it looks certain they will ask him to be a member of their Opening Day bullpen. He's earned the job by making a full recovery from the elbow surgery he underwent last April, and by putting together scoreless outings in four of his first five Grapefruit League appearances. Miller struck out 11 of the first 24 batters he faced in 5 1/3 innings of work -- a statistic one wouldn't expect from a guy who hasn't averaged a strikeout an inning in his big-league career. He was asked when he became a strikeout pitcher. "This spring," Miller said with a laugh. "When my slider is working well, I can get a lot of strikes. But actually, the older I get, the more first-pitch outs I want." When healthy, Miller has shown a knack for getting those outs. In 94 total appearances with the Tribe over the last three years, he's put up a 6-1 record and 2.77 ERA. "I don't want to sound cocky," Miller said, "but I'm not worried about competing with anybody. If I'm healthy, I feel I can compete with anybody." Even left-handed batters. As a sidearm-thrower, the right-handed Miller is at a natural disadvantage when it comes to retiring lefties. Still, his numbers against them are decent -- a .234 average against in 111 at-bats.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.