Miller strong in first start since '08

Injury-plagued right-hander pitches 4 1/3 shutout innings

By Andrew Pentis / Special to | May 19, 2012 6:51 PM ET

Three years, 11 months and 29 days after he last made a professional start, injury-plagued former top prospect Adam Miller made another.

Miller scattered four singles and retired his final five batters before exiting with one out in the fifth inning Saturday as the Double-A Trenton Thunder beat the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 3-1.

"I didn't know if I'd ever make [another start]," he said. "This was pretty cool."

Miller, the 31st overall pick in the 2003 Draft and the Indians' No. 1 prospect from 2005-08, faned one and threw 33 of 53 pitches for strikes. Afterward, he sounded less like the owner of a plus fastball and slider and more like a veteran pleased to be pitching at all.

"Scoreless innings make it better, but in the end it just felt good," the 27-year-old right-hander said. "I actually felt better later in the game as far as my arm and everything. I felt more confident with each pitch.

"Arm's feeling good, fingers feeling good. Just getting back in the routine."

Miller overcame elbow issues early in his Indians career -- he suffered a strain in 2005 and a related setback in '07 -- before missing the 2009 and 2010 seasons due to four separate surgeries on the fingers on his right hand. His last start occurred on May 20, 2008, when he gave up two hits in five scoreless innings for Triple-A Buffalo.

Finally back to health in 2011, he pitched 44 innings in 31 games as a reliever with Cleveland's Class A Advanced and Double-A affiliates. Miller switched organizations for the first time when he signed as a Minor League free agent with the Yankees in February.

"Fresh start, change of scenery," he said. "There's nothing bad I can say about the [Indians]. They were awesome to me. The Yankees seemed like a good fit."

Miller made five appearances out of Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's bullpen this season, giving up five runs on 13 hits over 10 innings before being assigned to Trenton on Monday. He wasn't given a reason for the demotion and isn't sure whether he's in the rotation for good.

"I'm sure I'll find out soon," he said.

After all these years, does he have a preference?

"I don't care," he said. "As long as I can throw, that's all I care about -- staying healthy and throwing."

The Thunder scored a run in three different innings. Cleanup man Cody Johnson hit an RBI double in the first against starter Randy Boone before Dan Brewer singled in a run and Johnson doubled home another in the fourth and fifth off reliever Danny Farquhar.

Boone (0-2) exited after recording one out due to injury.

Thunder third baseman Kevin Mahoney went 0-for-4, ending his 25-game on-base streak.

Andrew Pentis is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter at AndrewMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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