New York Yankees News: Andrew Miller closer to returning to Yankees


New York Yankees closer Andrew Miller had been lights out converting 17-of-18 save opportunities to the tune of a 1.03 ERA before landing on the disabled list since June 10th with a forearm strain, a similar injury to the one Masahiro Tanaka suffered in April.  On Wednesday, Miller made the first step towards his return, making 25 throws off of flat ground from 60 feet.

While Miller, who didn’t allow a run until his 18th appearance, couldn’t tell reporters and fans that the injury has improved, something everyone surely wants to hear with the bullpens struggles in his absence, it was a step in the right direction.  Miller felt that the low-intensity throwing wasn’t enough to gauge his readiness to return:

"They weren’t pitched, they were throws.  To me, there’s a huge difference.  I don’t think that’s the same intensity as throwing three out of four days to major league hitters, throwing sliders and warming up twice before I go into the game.  I just think there’s a long way to go before you can draw any conclusions."

Miller is right in assessment that there is still a long way to go, as he is unlikely to return before the All-Star break.  He added that the plan was for him to throw off flat ground on Thursday again, while taking Friday off, with the next phase of his rehab yet to be determined:

"I don’t know what their exact day for me to get back on a mound is, maybe seven or eight days, or something like that and go from there."

Although Miller suffered a similar injury to Tanaka, his rehab process shouldn’t take as long, as Tanaka made three rehab starts, to build up stamina for his return.  Coming out of the bullpen, Miller has only thrown more than one inning four times in his 26 appearances.

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While he likely won’t begin his rehab until early July, Miller couldn’t predict when he would be back on a Major League mound:

"I don’t know.  I don’t think anybody’s going to really honestly answer that.  I think there’s an ideal situation and then there’s reality, so I think assuming everything goes well and I recover well I still think you just don’t know."

News that Miller has begun to throw has to be encouraging for Yankees officials and fans, but he doesn’t seem to be nearing a return just yet.  As he seems hesitant to announce when he will be back, either it will still be a little while, or he is simply refusing to tip his hand.  Either way, the Yankees could use Miller back, as their bullpen has been shaky of late, with constant shuffling.

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