The draft may be over three weeks away, but that's not to say it is too early to begin seeing how…
It Soon Could Be Miller Time In Cleveland
"I don't really worry about when it'll happen," he said in his friendly Texas drawl prior to a recent Buffalo Bisons game. "When it's my time, it'll be my time. If they make a trade or there are a couple of injuries, maybe they'll call me up sometime soon. If not, I may be a September call-up (when rosters are expanded), or maybe it'll be in '08. "I know I am close now and that's pretty cool," he said with a confident smile. That laid-back attitude is one reason why Miller, a 6-4, 200-pound right-hander whose fastball once again tops out at 100 miles per hour, appears to be on the brink of stardom. With Jeremy Sowers struggling for the Tribe and Jake Westbrook on the disabled list, there have been some rumblings that Miller, who is not yet on the Tribe's 40-man roster, might be getting a call very soon. "He is no dummy," said Scott Radinsky, the pitching coach at Buffalo about the 2003 sandwich pick (No. 31 overall). "He knows his time is going to come. And when his time comes, he's never going to come back (to the minors)." Radinsky is totally convinced that Miller, who won't turn 23 until Nov. 26, is ready for the big leagues. "I wouldn't say his minor league development has hit a dead end, but I think he needs to be challenged on the major league level," said Radinsky, who also served as Miller's pitching coach at Class AA Akron in 2006. "The bottom line for me is that he needs to pitch in big league games." Bisons manager Torey Lovullo agrees that Miller is indeed ready. "He is ready to go to the big leagues and help out. Right now, though, they have five starters who are doing great and a sixth guy in Jake Westbrook who was pitching well before he went on the disabled list. Adam is smart and he realizes that." But unlike Radinsky, Lovullo says there are definitely things Miller can be working on as he spends his final hours, days, weeks or months in the minors. For one thing, he'd like to see Miller throw another half-dozen or so effective change-ups every game. "He is throwing quality change-ups three or four times a game," Lovullo said. "If he could throw his change-up 10 to 15 times a game, I obviously think he would be a finished product." Miller says, "I think I have a pretty good feel for the change-up now, along with the slider and two- and four-seam fastballs, but you can always get better. I don't think you can ever be perfect." Miller says he hesitates to throw too many change-ups because, "It just seems like it helps the hitter more than it helps me." In other words, Miller believes hitters will have a much easier time hitting his 85 mile per hour change-up than his mid to upper-90s fastball when it is kept low in the strike zone. His four-seam fastball averages between 97-98 miles per hour, while his two-seamer is about four miles per hour slower. During spring training, his fastball topped out at 100 miles per hour, the first time he's hit triple digits since his pre-injury days at Kinston in 2004. In the spring of 2005, Miller strained his right elbow, an injury that forced a delay in the start of his season. The rest of the season the Indians treated him with kid gloves, allowing him to start only 15 games. Last year, he made 26 appearances (24 starts) at Akron, going 15-6 with a 2.75 ERA and was the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year. The Indians still kept his innings under close watch, evidenced by the fact they refused to allow him to start the decisive fifth game in the Eastern League Championship Series with nearly a normal amount of rest time. This year, he has dominated at Triple-A, going 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA. In seven starts he has allowed 37 hits in 44 innings, striking out 39 while walking 14. Through all of his success, Miller, who got married this past of-season, is still the same person he was when he signed out of McKinney (Texas) High School. He shows no ego whatsoever and wonders why anyone is surprised that he hasn't. "It's just baseball," he said in downplaying his importance. "Obviously, there is a lot of money in it, but I'm just out there having fun. It's better than working. I just go out every day with a bunch of great guys and have fun. "Whether it's the minor leagues, major leagues or back home having fun with a bunch of my friends, it's all the same game, just a different atmosphere," he said. Radinsky says, "Maintaining his ego has been huge for Adam and I'm sure it has a lot to do with how he was brought up. From what I've seen, I think if you give him a $100 million contract, he is going to be the same kid. "I don't think that in his own head he is ever going to be a superstar-type of guy. I think he is always going to be humble and I think that is going to be what helps make him successful."
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