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09/19/08 7:29 PM ET

Tribe's Miller to be a reliever in 2009

Top prospect's continued injuries to put him on innings count

CLEVELAND -- Adam Miller's future with the Indians will likely be as a reliever -- at least for 2009.

Assistant general manager Chris Antonetti said that because of Miller's minimal output this season, the 23-year-old right-hander will be on an innings count next year. To avoid meeting that limit early in the season, it only makes sense for Miller to be a bullpen guy.

"As a starter," Antonetti said, "you can reach that innings limit very quickly."

Miller missed the bulk of the 2008 season after undergoing surgery on the middle finger of his right hand to re-attach the flexor tendon to the bone near the end of May. He logged just six appearances -- all starts -- going 0-1 with a 1.88 ERA over 28 2/3 innings.

Miller was limited to only 85 1/3 innings in 2007 because of finger and elbow problems. Of his 104 career appearances in the Minors, Miller has made just 10 relief appearances.

Miller's name has been tossed around on occasion by general manager Mark Shapiro as a potential candidate for the Indians' open closer job in 2009.

Antonetti said that Miller, who is currently with the Indians' instructional league team in Arizona, will likely begin the offseason as a starter before making the transition to the bullpen. The 2003 first-round selection out of McKinney High School in Texas will pitch for Aguilas in the Dominican Winter Baseball League.

Andrew Gribble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.