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04/18/09 3:24 PM ET

Miller has setback with finger

Indians prospect shut down for a week, could face surgery

NEW YORK -- Adam Miller's throwing program hit a snag this week, as the right-handed prospect experienced discomfort in his right middle finger.

Miller, trying to work his way back to game action despite the inability to bend the tip of that finger, was supposed to throw his first live batting practice session at the Goodyear complex on Monday, but he felt the discomfort after warming up in the bullpen. He was shut down for the rest of the week and was scheduled to play catch Saturday.

"We're playing it as cautiously as possible," head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said. "This is certainly a bump in the road for him. We'll know more based on how he tolerates his throwing program over the next three to five days."

A career-threatening surgical procedure, in which doctors would use a tendon from Miller's wrist to replace malfunctioning pulley ligaments in the finger, is still very much a possibility. By the end of next week, the Indians will decide if he needs to visit with team hand specialist Dr. Tom Graham again.

"[Surgery] is always going to be an option if he fails conservative management," Soloff said.

Miller, who only made six starts at Triple-A Buffalo last year, had season-ending surgery on the finger in May 2008 to seal an open fistula. This year, Miller was converted to relief work and was expected to compete for a spot in the Tribe's bullpen before the finger began to give him trouble again.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.