Thursday, November 12, 2009

Adam Miller is gone, but not forgotten

There has never been anything simple about Indians right-hander Adam Miller. The former first-round sandwich pick tantalized the Tribe masses with 100 MPH fastballs and dreams of an ace that is untouchable. Miller was arguably the Tribe's top prospect in 2007 and 2008, and seemed on the fast track to the big league club in 2009 or 2010 at the latest.

Then came the injuries.

Miller's injury issues culminated last season when Miller couldn't bend the tip of his right index finger during spring training. On the eve of Miller perhaps reaching his dream of playing in the majors, he was faced with the possibility of never playing again. The tendon surgery needed to repair his injured finger quite often leaves scar tissue. That scar tissue could cause repeat surgeries that would likely end his career.

Enter Adam Miller today. On August 4th, Miller had his second and last scheduled surgery on his injured finger, and has been rehabbing ever since. Miller is scheduled to begin throwing later this month, with the Indians being understandably cautious in his recovery.

Now, Adam Miller is 100% unknown. Will he have the same velocity that he had prior to the surgery? Will scar tissue hamper or put a stop to his return? Will Miller ever play a season, let alone a season without injuries? Is Adam Miller even still considered a prospect at this stage of his career? The Indians need to find out soon, because he's currently listed on the Indians 40-Man roster. Will the Indians protect him heading into next month's rule 5 draft?

Miller still remains a tantalizing talent, and at this stage of the game, I'm not talking about his above average heat. Miller, who will celebrate his 25th birthday later this month, has already felt both sides of the extreme. He's been the top prospect, and now, completely out of the equation. To top it off, he's never even had a cup of coffee in the bigs.

Still, Miller perserveres. He has the head of an ace, and when healthy, an arm that goes with it. It's optimistic to think he'll even return to the minors, let alone make an impact at the major league level. Yet if his rehab is any indication of the type of player he could be...

I wouldn't bet against him. Anything the Indians get from Miller at this stage of the game would be icing on the cake. You can't help but wonder that if everything falls into place, he could be just what the doctor ordered for a staff that is lacking the punch and pop of CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee.

Here's hoping Miller is on his way back...

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