CLEVELAND -- A fickle finger prevented Adam Miller from making good on the acclaim that made him the Indians' No. 1, seemingly, can't-miss prospect.Miller hadn't pitched for a Tribe affiliate since May 20, 2008. He had to have four surgical procedures to address a problem with the pulley system in his right middle finger, and the issues were considered as career-threatening as they were rare. So Friday's news that Miller has been cleared to pitch out of the Class A Kinston bullpen was quite a comeback story, no matter where Miller goes from here. Miller has been clocked up to 95 mph and has flashed an above average slider, according to farm director Ross Atkins. "Adam has already been one of the best stories of the year for us in player development," Atkins said. "I don't think many individuals could have endured the series of injuries and rehabilitations as well as he has. The fact that he's pitching again at this level is truly a testament to his ability to stay focused on what he can control and not once feel sorry for himself. It truly has been inspirational for us to witness." Miller, 26, had been in extended spring camp in Goodyear, Ariz., before getting the call to Kinston. He's certainly a name worth tracking in the months ahead.
Hafner out of lineup for second straight game
CLEVELAND -- The man they call Pronk was once again on that thing they call a bench Friday night.For the second straight day, Travis Hafner was out of the Indians' lineup because of inflammation in his right ankle. Hafner underwent an MRI exam, the results of which were not known at the time manager Manny Acta met with reporters before the series opener against the Tigers. But Acta said he doesn't believe the injury to be serious. In fact, he said, Hafner was available off the bench Friday. "We just want to make sure everything is OK," Acta said. "We'd rather be on the safe side and give him a day off." Once again, Shelley Duncan filled in at DH for the Tribe. Hafner injured the ankle sliding into home in a win over the Royals on Wednesday night. Pronk is off to a strong start for the Tribe this season, ranking third in the AL in average (.342), third in average with runners in scoring position (.467), 10th in slugging percentage (.566) and 10th in on-base percentage (.393).
The Indians' 16-8 start mirrors their start in 2007, when they went on to win 96 games and the AL Central crown. Friday marked the Tribe's 22nd consecutive day in first place. ... The 10-game home winning streak, entering Friday, was the club's longest such winning streak since 1996. The Indians were averaging 6.3 runs per game at home. ... The three unearned runs allowed by the Indians were the fewest in the AL. ... For more on the Tribe, visit the CastroTurf blog (http://castrovince.mlblogs.com).
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, CastroTurf, and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.