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Terry Francona says he’s been using Andrew Miller too much


Indians reliever Andrew Miller was one of the big reasons why the team made it all the way to the seventh game of the World Series last season before falling to the Cubs. And the lefty has been just as good this season, excepting a pair of rough outings against the Dodgers last week.

Manager Terry Francona, in fact, takes responsibility for those appearances, admitting, “I think I pitched him too much,” as Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com reports. Referring to one particular outing in which Miller yielded four runs, Francona said, “I was talking about that the other day. You don’t ever see an ERA next to my name, but I should have got a couple of his runs.”

Francona added, “I was bothered by that last week. I shouldn’t have done that. We say it all the time. We want our guys to pitch as much as possible, but not too much. That one outing was too much.”

Francona’s ability to earnestly admit his mistakes is a rare and refreshing quality in a major league manager. Most managers would either deflect or pass the buck.

Miller is still carrying a terrific 1.51 ERA with a 51/8 K/BB ratio in 35 2/3 innings this season. For his last two appearances, Francona brought in Miller for the ninth inning, which is usually taken by closer Cody Allen. Miller earned his first save of the year on Sunday, wrapping up a 5-2 win against the Twins.

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
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Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.

The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.