CLEVELAND -- The Indians are optimistic that left-hander Andrew Miller (mild left hamstring strain) will be able to leave the disabled list at the end of his 10-day stint.
“Boy, I sure hope so. I think so, but again, we’ll do the right thing,” manager Terry Francona said of Miller, who is eligible for activation Sunday. “If he feels it, we’re not going to rush that. That would be really silly. But, I do think he’s doing OK.”
Miller, who hasn’t allowed a run over 11 appearances (10 innings), played catch at Progressive Field prior to the series opener against Texas on Monday.
“He’s able to throw, not bullpens yet. But so he can keep his arm moving, which is really good,” Francona said. “And he doesn’t feel anything. Now, he’s not using his legs a ton either because he’s just throwing. But at some point before we activate him, he’ll throw a bullpen. Because we want to make sure that when he gets up on the mound he doesn’t feel it. But that’s not yet.”
The Indians think they have discovered a release-point issue that could be contributing to a rough start for Josh Tomlin, who has allowed 20 runs, 32 hits and a major league-leading 10 home runs over only 18 2/3 innings of five outings (four starts).
“Early on, his arm slot had kind of wandered away from his head a little bit,” Francona said. “So that was something they really were working on all last week. His arm slot’s the same, but getting his hand closer to his head. I know in his side day he really felt good about it.
“It’s never just one thing, like (Sunday), he gave up the two (runs), we missed the cut-off man and it turned into five. After that, I thought he got into a pretty good rhythm. Then he gave up the solo (homer), which he’ll do because he’s around the plate and he doesn’t necessarily have the velocity that the other guys do. So you hope that he takes the three innings that were good and builds off of that.”
Maintaining his release point was also a problem for Tomlin during a poor first half last year.
“It’s not just hitters. We talk about it with hitters all the time, but yeah, that’s why we talk about guys like (Michael) Brantley,” Francona said. “He can repeat his swing, same with pitchers. The guys that can repeat it over and over consistently, they’re able to command better.”
Francona said right-hander Adam Plutko would be promoted from Triple-A Columbus to start one of the games of Thursday’s doubleheader against Toronto, likely Game 2.
The 26-year-old Plutko, an 11th-round draft pick in 2013, is 3-2 with a 2.35 ERA in five starts for the Clippers. He tossed 7 2/3 perfect innings in his last outing Saturday in front of special assistant to president of baseball operations Tom Wiedenbauer and special assistant to baseball operations Tim Belcher.
“Their reports were so similar, that he just commanded each side of the plate so well,” Francona said.
Plutko made his major league debut with the Indians in 2016 and spent two weeks in Cleveland’s bullpen last year, but did not appear in a game. He pitched much of last year with a torn right labrum that required surgery in the offseason.
“It seems like with his hip, he had that labrum, on his hip. Getting that fixed. It looks like he’s getting a little bit stronger and he’s commanding the heck out of the ball,” Francona said. “So, that’s really good. You wonder now looking back how much his hip bothered him last year.”
Francona said Carlos Carrasco, who left his last outing prematurely with a stiff back, is on schedule to pitch the other game of the doubleheader.
Francona is hoping Brandon Guyer’s recent surge means he is returning to the weapon he was against left-handed pitching during his first half season in Cleveland in 2016.
“We need him. I’ve said it a number of times,” Francona said of Guyer, who hit his second homer in a 10-4 loss to Seattle on Sunday. “Not to put pressure on him. We’re pretty left-handed dominant. And when he plays, when we got him two years ago, the numbers he put up, I thought it went under the radar a lot. He can be a force against left-handers. So, when he starts to swing aggressively like we’ve seen the last couple of games, yeah that’s big for us.”
Monday was the 72nd anniversary of Hall of Famer Bob Feller’s second career no-hitter in 1946, a 1-0 victory at Yankee Stadium in which Feller walked five and struck out 11. He went on to record one more no-hitter.
Double-A Akron RHP Aaron Civale allowed just a hit over seven shutout innings -- seven strikeouts, no walks -- in a 7-1 win over Bowie on Sunday.
Civale, a third-round draft pick in 2016 who led Indians minor leaguers with 13 wins last year, is 2-1 with a 2.22 ERA over five starts.
- Brantley was out of the lineup for the series opener against Texas. He’s hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games, batting .393 (22-for-56) with two homers, five doubles and eight RBIs over the span. Brantley’s .348 average over 17 games led the team and ranked fourth in the AL through Sunday.
- The Indians faced their ninth left-handed starting pitcher in Cole Hamels, entering Monday with a 5-3 record against lefties. Cleveland had scored 32 runs against LHP through Sunday, accounting for the fifth-most in the AL and for 34 percent of its runs on the season.
- Tuesday, 6:10, STO, WMMS 100.7-FM. Clevinger (2-0, 2.56) vs. Fister (1-2, 3.93).