Miller passes Stage 1 of reconstruction

Miller passes Stage 1 of reconstruction

CLEVELAND -- Adam Miller made it through the first portion of what the Indians are calling a "multi-stage reconstruction" of his right middle finger.

Now he has about three months to get ready for Stage 2.

Team hand specialist Dr. Tom Graham repaired the flexor pulley system in Tuesday's 2 1/2-hour procedure at the Curtis Hand Center in Baltimore. In approximately three months, Graham will reconstruct the flexor tendon.

Miller will begin rehabbing immediately at the Indians' Player Development Complex in Goodyear, Ariz., and his total recovery from the two surgeries is expected to take between six to nine months. His 2009 season, then, is definitively over. What remains to be seen is if he'll be able to revive his career after these complicated and unique procedures, in which Graham is using a tendon from Miller's wrist to fix the pulley system that wouldn't allow Miller to bend the tip of the finger.

The Indians had hoped Miller, the 31st overall selection in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, would impact their big league bullpen this season, but the continuing saga with his finger -- a saga that began in May 2007 -- put a damper on those plans.

The 24-year-old Miller didn't make an appearance in the spring Cactus League season because he experienced soreness, followed by decreased strength and range of motion, in the finger. He spent several weeks trying to reinvent his release point to account for the inability to bend the tip of the finger, but the soreness crept back into the picture just as he was ready to face live hitters.

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