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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Andrew Miller visits specialist to have left knee examined

Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller sits in the dugout after being removed, having given up a bases-loaded walk during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Detroit. (Carlos Osorio / AP)
Associated Press

CLEVELAND – Indians pitcher Andrew Miller visited a specialist in New York on Tuesday to have his injured left knee examined.

Miller, a dominant presence in Cleveland’s bullpen since being acquired in 2016, was examined by New York Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital For Special Surgery.

Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said there’s no indication at this point that Miller will need surgery. He underwent an MRI and other tests during the examination. Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Saturday with inflammation in the knee.

“We normally, anytime a player has an injury of any consequence, we’ll try to get enough options to make sure we have a handle on what’s going on for the best course of treatment,” Antonetti said.

The Indians haven’t provided a timeline when Miller will return. The left-hander has filled multiple roles since joining the team and has been one of the most effective relievers in the majors.

Miller was on the DL twice last season with patella tendinitis. He was out for two weeks with a strained left hamstring earlier in the season. Miller pitched 10 scoreless innings before the hamstring injury, but has struggled since returning and is 1-3 with a 4.40 ERA in 17 appearances.

Cleveland’s bullpen is 4-12 with a major league-high 6.06 ERA. The have been unable to find an effective replacement for setup man Bryan Shaw, who signed with Colorado in the offseason.

Cody Allen has converted eight of nine save chances but several relievers have struggled, leading to a flurry of roster moves that began several weeks go. The bullpen’s problems have also forced manager Terry Francona to stick with his starters later in games and increased their pitch counts.

Right-hander Adam Plutko, who has won all three starts this season, was optioned to Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday. The Indians purchased the contract of left-hander Jeff Beliveau to provide a fresh arm in the bullpen.

Right-hander Shane Bieber will be called up to make his first major league start Thursday in Minnesota and will be sent down after that game when another reliever is added.

The Indians have two off-days next week and won’t need a fifth starter again until June 12 when Plutko is expected to be recalled.