CLEVELAND -- Oft-injured top pitching prospect Adam Miller is on the shelf again, and this time, his season could be over.
Miller, who went on the Triple-A Buffalo disabled list Monday, had surgery performed on the middle finger of his right hand Tuesday by team hand specialist Dr. Tom Graham in Baltimore to repair a strained pulley tendon.
The 23-year-old Miller will be shut down from throwing for eight weeks, according to head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff. Miller will then begin a return-to-throw program in either Winter Haven, Fla., or Goodyear, Ariz., which renders his Minor League season in jeopardy.
"It's a challenging injury," Soloff said. "It was a very challenging procedure to perform."
Miller actually suffered the injury a year ago and missed six weeks of action with the Bisons while resting the strain. The Indians felt Miller could get by without surgery.
But as a result of the strain, Miller's tendon would bowstring, and his skin sagged when his finger bent. That caused the skin to rub up against the baseball, creating two hardened calluses. Between those calluses, a hole developed in the skin.
Graham found that Miller's tendons were starting to fray and his finger's pulley system -- in layman's terms, the system that allows his finger to bend -- was not working properly.
"Closing [the hole in] the skin would not be enough [for Miller] to pitch at a high level," Soloff said.
Miller was pitching at a high level before the surgery. He was 0-1 with a 1.88 ERA in six starts for Buffalo, after missing the first three weeks of the season because of a Spring Training setback in which a blister formed on the finger.
The Indians, who took Miller with the 31st overall pick in the 2003 Draft, had high hopes that he could remain healthy this season and make his first appearance at the big league level, either out of the bullpen or in the rotation.