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Indians to activate Andrew Miller on Monday

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Indians left-handed reliever Andrew Miller is scheduled to rejoin the team on Monday, when he’ll help the team finish off their road trip with a three-game series against the Rays. Miller has been laid up with a left shoulder impingement for nearly two weeks, but told reporters he feels ready to pitch again after successfully tossing a bullpen session on Thursday and receiving a cortisone shot in his shoulder.

It’s been a rough year for the 33-year-old lefty, who missed significant time with a hamstring strain and chronic knee inflammation over the summer and has yet to replicate the superb numbers that netted him a second All-Star nomination in 2017. He’ll head into the next road series with a 3.38 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 12.4 SO/9 over 24 innings — the worst marks he’s recorded since his 2011 run with the Red Sox.

Miller will return to a team that entered Sunday’s game with a comfortable 16.5-game lead in the AL Central despite having one of the most unstable bullpens in the league. According to FanGraphs, Cleveland’s relief corps currently ranks fourth-worst with a collective 4.69 ERA and -0.4 fWAR — something the ailing left-hander is unlikely to single-handedly correct over the next few weeks. Assuming Miller’s struggles on the mound can be mostly attributed to continued health problems and not any fundamental issue with his mechanics or delivery, however, he might well be able to turn his season around in time to make a real difference when the postseason kicks off next month.

Padres fire Andy Green

Andy Green
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The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.

Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:

I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.

In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.

“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”

Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.

For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.