Jonathan Sanchez aiming to return later this month

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Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez hasn’t pitched in a game since August 16 due to a badly sprained left ankle and is still dealing with discomfort here in early September. But he hasn’t given up on returning to action before the end of the 2011 regular season.

According to Carl Steward of the San Jose Mercury News, Sanchez was able to throw a brief bullpen session on Saturday afternoon in San Francisco and could be ready for the final two weeks of September if he continues to make steady progress.

The 28-year-old left-hander has posted an underwhelming 4.26 ERA and 102/66 K/BB ratio across 101 1/3 innings this season for the second-place Giants. He had a sparkling 3.07 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 205 strikeouts in 193 1/3 innings last season.

“I’m feeling a lot better,” Sanchez told the Mercury News after his Saturday throwing session. “I’m not 100 percent, but right around 60-65. When I got hurt, I couldn’t throw. I couldn’t push off, but now I can. It’s progressing. We’ve got a month left and my ankle’s getting better every day, so I’ll do whatever I can. I just want to get to the playoffs, so I’ll do whatever they want me to do bullpen, starting, whatever.”

The defending-champion Giants are currently six games back of the Diamondbacks in the National League West standings and 8 1/2 games behind the Braves in the hunt for the National League Wild Card.

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.