A season in which little has gone right for the Tribe's top pitching prospect could now be over.
The news coming out of Miller's surprise visit to Cleveland on Monday is that he is being shut down, yet another setback for the 22-year-old right-hander in an injury-riddled year that began with so much hope.
An examination by team physician Dr. Mark Schickendantz revealed inflammation in Miller's right elbow joint, forcing him to be shut down for the next 10 to 14 days. He will receive treatment in Cleveland during that period.
The severity of the injury and how long it persists will determine if Miller then begins a return-to-throw program early next month.
Yet, even if Miller returns to pitch at Triple-A Buffalo, he would seem to be out of the big-league fold come September, though Wedge would not say as much.
"I think it's really too early to tell," manager Eric Wedge said. "It's still July, so let's just give it a little bit of time and see how it plays out."
Team spokesman Bart Swain said the injury is not a result of the finger injury that sidelined Miller earlier this season. Miller's mechanics never shifted and his finger had long been fully healed.
It does seem likely, however, that the elbow injury contributed to Miller's pair of consecutively disappointing outings.
Miller first began experiencing discomfort in a July 14 start that saw him give up five runs over 2 2/3 innings. And that pain increased on July 19, when Miller was battered for eight runs over just four innings.
Something was wrong, and hello Cleveland. MRI's taken during Monday's Indians game revealed no serious damage and the club will not seek a second opinion.
There still may be a worry, though, that Miller's elbow could be a recurring issue. Miller, after all, was shut down by a similar injury in 2005.
"I don't know," Wedge said. "I think anytime you're talking about something in the same region, you've got to consider it and take a look at it. Hopefully, it's not related."
Homecoming: Coco Crisp remains good friends with Indians starter Jake Westbrook. And he's in the same fantasy football league as reliever Jason Stanford.
But as Crisp returned to Jacobs Field on Monday for the first time since the Indians traded him to the Red Sox before the 2006 season, his homecoming didn't exactly summon tears of joy.
"I love playing here. I love the guys over there, because I grew up playing with them," Crisp said before Tuesday's game. "But cut the umbilical cord. They traded me. ... I've been adopted by Boston now. I'm just trying to whoop up on the team that traded me."
That he did. The one-time Cleveland fan favorite, the recipient of a surprisingly tepid response from the Jacobs Field crowd, had three hits off his buddy Westbrook and finished Monday 4-for-5 with a trio of runs scored.
Job security? The question would have seemed absurd just weeks ago. And perhaps it still is.
But before Tuesday's game, manager Eric Wedge was asked if Cliff Lee or Jake Westbrook, both of whom have signed long-term contract extensions within the past year, could ever be in danger of losing their starting jobs.
Wedge's answer? "Well," he said, "there are no absolutes in this game. But I've got enough confidence in them that they're going to come out of this. I don't even think about that, just because I feel they're going to work out of it."
Westbrook is 0-3 with a 6.38 ERA over his last four starts and Lee, well, has had such numbers all year. The left-hander is 5-7 with a 5.95 ERA.
Wedge continues to maintain he sees signs the pair is re-emerging -- evidence his praise for Westbrook's final four innings Monday night -- but he also knows that stance is fast becoming old.
"I don't want to keep talking about signs," Wedge said. "I want to see it play out."
Tribe tidbits: The Indians, along with the Dodgers, look to be the most interested in Royals closer Octavio Dotel, the Kansas City Star reported. From the Tribe, the Royals appear bent on receiving either Franklin Gutierrez or Ben Francisco, two of the club's top outfield prospects. ... The Indians are 51-17 when scoring four or more runs. They are 7-24 when scoring three runs or less.
Down on the farm: Triple-A Buffalo starters Sean Smith (9-6) and Eric Dubose (3-2) combined to allow just one run over 13 1/3 innings in the Bisons' doubleheader sweep of Syracuse on Monday. Third baseman Andy Marte went 3-for-7 with his season's 10th homer. ... Double-A Akron starter Chuck Lofgren allowed three runs over six innings and third baseman Rodney Choy Foo hit his season's 10th homer as the Aeros edged Harrisburg, 12-5. ... Center fielder Jose Costanza went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs in Class A Kinston's 9-5 victory over Potomac. ... Class A Lake County's Beau Mills went 3-for-3 with three runs scored, falling a double shy of the cycle in the Captains' 10-5 dusting of Lexington. The Tribe's 2007 first-round Draft pick is hitting .265 with three homers and 20 RBIs in 25 games at Lake County.
On deck: The Tribe continues their four-game set against the Red Sox with another marquee pitching matchup Wednesday night at The Jake at 7:05 ET. Fausto Carmona (12-4, 3.52 ERA) will be opposed by Sox ace Josh Beckett (13-3, 3.41).
David Briggs is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less