With Andrew Miller holding a June 15 outclause in his deal, it’s a given that the Red Sox are about to call up the former first-round pick of the Tigers. His ERA is down to 2.54 at Triple-A Pawtucket, and in his last three starts, he’s allowed a total of four runs and posted a 16/2 K/BB ratio in 20 innings.
What isn’t yet known is how the Red Sox intend to employ Miller. Apart from an eight-appearance stint in the pen during his pro debut in A-ball in 2006, Miller hasn’t worked as a reliever. He’s limiting left-handers to a .111 average in Triple-A this year, so maybe he could be useful as a matchup reliever late in games. However, that’s far from a given. Miller has a long history of control issues, and relievers who struggle to throw strikes are hard to trust late in games.
As much progress as Miller has made recently, the right move now is to stick him in the rotation. It’s not an easy call, since it’d mean bumping elder statesman Tim Wakefield back to the pen yet again. But Miller still has an incredibly high ceiling, and it’s worth seeing if he’s finally ready to pitch up to his potential. He’s earned the opportunity while allowing just one homer in 60 1/3 innings for Pawtucket. It wouldn’t be a big surprise if he’s the choice to start when the Red Sox face the Brewers on Sunday.
The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.
Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.
Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.
Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.
Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).
Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.