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Minor League Update

February 24, 2008
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Some random updates....

Miller Gets The Finger

Right-hander Adam Miller has been sidelined in camp for a few days because of a blister to the middle finger of his throwing hand. This is the same middle finger that pretty much was the culprit of all his physical problems last year that saw him sidelined for three to four months. He played catch at 120 feet yesterday, will throw a bullpen session today, and then most likely will throw batting practice on Tuesday.

Miller would have made his major league debut last May or June had the finger injury not cropped up. The Indians were on the verge of sending Jeremy Sowers to Buffalo and calling up Miller when he injured the finger, and saw his season derailed. He came back from the injury in July, but then came up with inflammation in his elbow and was sidelined again until late August. He went to the Arizona Fall League (AFL) in the fall to get some work in and log more innings, and in his final start in the AFL he re-aggravated the finger injury.

Aside from the blister, Miller is reportedly healthy. The blister is only a minor setback, but it is time to start being a little more concerned about his finger issue. According to Dr. Tom Graham, who is the hand specialist the Indians are using to routinely evaluate Miller, while the finger issue is rare Miller is more susceptible to this type of injury because of his big hands, longer fingers and how hard he throws. Miller is ticketed for a return trip to Buffalo to continue to get more work in and prove he is healthy before he could be an option the Indians consider sometime later this year.

Minor League Coverage On STO

The Indians cable network SportsTime Ohio has some cool things in store as far as minor league coverage goes in 2008. On the show "All Bets Are Off with Bruce Drennan", there will be segments dedicated every Tuesday and Friday to minor league coverage. They will have representatives for each team in studio or on the phone to talk about their team and what is happening with the players, as well as player personnel people like Farm Director Ross Atkins once a month. Here is the proposed schedule of appearances on "All Bets Are Off" in April:

Friday April 4th: Kinston manager Chris Tremie
Tuesday April 8th: Lake County manager Aaron Holbert and Play-By-Play voice/Media Relations Director Craig Deas (both will be in studio)
Friday April 11th: Akron manager Mike Sarbaugh
Tuesday April 15th: Buffalo manager Torey Luvullo
Friday April 18th: Lake County manager Aaron Holbert
Tuesday April 22nd: Kinston manager Chris Tremie
Friday April 25th: Buffalo manager Torey Luvullo
Tuesday April 29th: Akron manager Mike Sarbaugh

It should be noted that the schedule is subject to change, and also that Ross Atkins has not committed to a date yet, but should appear on one show sometime in April. So, as you can see, if you want some more minor league news, you should be able to catch it every Tuesday and Friday on "All Bets Are Off with Bruce Drennan". Big props to STO for this addition.

Slocum Back In The Mix

Right-hander Brian Slocum is looking to re-establish himself as a depth alternative for the Indians starting rotation or bullpen this spring. After he had a good year in 2006 in Buffalo and Cleveland, he came into 2007 as one of the Indians primary depth starting options. However, Slocum encountered hamstring issues right from the start of spring training last year and while trying to pitch through it he hurt his elbow in the process. While he opened the year with Buffalo, a month into the season he was put on the disabled list with a strained flexor tendon in his right elbow and never returned. Slocum also had surgery in September to have a deviated septum repaired. Slocum was cleared to participate in the Florida Instructional League, and then went out and made a few starts in winter ball in the Venezuela Winter League. He is in camp healthy, and ready to pitch for a major league job sometime this year.

On The Mend

Here is the status of some of the Indians who are coming off offseason surgeries or were hurt last season:

Adam Miller: His blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand has slowed him down some, but other than that he looks like he will be good to go when camp breaks and head to Buffalo.

Eddie Mujica: Mujica actually had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in September, and is healthy and ready to compete for a bullpen spot in camp this spring. He has also lost some weight.

Tony Sipp: Sipp is progressing well in his recovery from Tommy John surgery last July. He is throwing off the mound and threw 60 pitches the other day. When camp breaks, Sipp will stay behind in spring training to continue his rehab. The plan is to send him on a rehab assignment in early May - likely to Lake County - and be ready for normal action by late June or early July.

Michael Aubrey: Aubrey has been hampered by various injuries throughout his career, but is coming into camp as healthy as he has ever been and ready to hopefully have a big year at Buffalo this year.

Shin-Soo Choo: Choo had Tommy John surgery on his left elbow back in September, and is playing catch at about 90 feet and taking soft toss in the batting cages. He likely will be limited to designated hitter duties early on in spring training, but he could get some time in the outfield late in camp. He will stay in extended spring training to continue his rehab when the Indians start the regular season, and the plan is to send him on a rehab assignment to Buffalo sometime in May.

Jordan Brown: Brown had a arthroscopic knee surgery in the offseason and is about to resume normal activities. He is about a week behind other players.

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