Scott Downs throws simulated game, may return next week

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Out since mid-March with a broken toe, Scott Downs threw a 15-pitch simulated game this afternoon and reported no problems.

Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times reports that Downs also participated in some fielding drills and could be close to beginning a minor-league rehab assignment, with an eye toward joining the Angels’ bullpen at some point next week.

Downs is expected to serve as a setup man after signing a three-year, $15 million deal with the Angels as a free agent this winter, but could emerge as a closing alternative to Fernando Rodney if manager Mike Scioscia isn’t ready to hand ninth-inning duties over to flame-throwing rookie Jordan Walden.

Andrew Miller placed on the disabled list

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UPDATE: The Indians have placed Miller on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

8:46 AM: Indians reliever Andrew Miller left last night’s game against the Cubs with left hamstring tightness.

Miller threw just two pitches before clutching his leg and leaving the field. He’s day-to-day for now — and manager Terry Francona noted that he had a similar injury a few years back and only missed a few days — but hamstring injuries can be anywhere from annoying to serious, so nothing definitive will be said by the club until he undergoes an MRI. Given how critical he is to the Indians, who are likely postseason bound, figure that the team will err on the side of caution with a DL sting regardless.

Miller has yet to allow a run in ten innings of work.