Daily Dish: Aug. 4

See also: Yesterday’s Daily Dish

Indians righthander Adam Miller is on a roll.

The 21-year-old has reeled off five wins in his last six starts. In Double-A Akron’™s 4-2 win against New Hampshire Thursday, Miller posted his second consecutive 11-strikeout performance.

Miller, the Tribe’™s supplemental first-round pick in 2003 out of McKinney High in Texas, battled through some control issues in May, when he went 2-3, 5.57 and opponents hit .272 against him over 32 innings. But he’™s been riding high since then, going 7-1, 1.77 over his last 66 innings. Overall, Miller is 12-5, 3.01 with a 128-37 strikeout-walk ratio in 126 innings this season.

Against the Fisher Cats, Miller cruised through six innings of work, allowing a run on three hits and walking two.

The biggest improvement Miller has made during this hot streak is throwing his changeup more effectively–something that has dogged him since returning from a strained elbow ligament that occurred in spring training last year. Miller’™s offspeed pitches and the velocity on his fastball were slow to come back, but he’™s clicking on all cylinders now.

And with an arsenal that features a lively 92-97 mph fastball, hard-biting 87 mph slider and a useable changeup he’™s throwing in any count, the 6-foot-4 righthander is back to his 2004 form when he dominated the South Atlantic League at low Class A Lake County and went 3-2, 2.08 in 43 innings at high Class A Kinston–hitting 101 mph twice in the Carolina League championship series against Wilmington.

“He was throwing his changeup a lot better, and early in the count,” Aeros manager Tim Bogar told the Akron Beacon-Journal. “When he does that as effectively as he did (Thursday), it really makes his fastball pop.”



• As Royals fans celebrated the signing of righthander Luke Hochevar, there was some potential bad news on the Kansas City front Thursday, as lefthander Tyler Lumsden was hit by a line drive off the bat off Tulsa second baseman Christian Colonel during the first inning of his organizational debut at Double-A Wichita. Lumsden, who came over to the Royals in the Mike MacDougal deal last week, allowed a hit, walked one and struck out one before exiting the game with an undisclosed injury. He is listed as day-to-day. Lumsden went 9-4, 2.69 in 124 innings at Double-A Birmingham prior to the trade.

• No one expected Trevor Crowe to be back this season after severely spraining his left ankle over two weeks ago. The initial diagnosis was for the Indians outfielder to miss at least a month, and the organization was hopeful that they’™d be able to get their 2005 first-rounder some playing time in the Arizona Fall League in October. Well, Crowe will likely still be headed to Arizona this fall, but he made his return to the lineup at Double-A Akron Thursday where he batted leadoff and went 2-for-4 with a double. “I’™m ready to go,” Crowe told the Akron Beacon-Journal. “I feel 100 percent.”

• White Sox righthander Lucas Harrell left his start on Tuesday–after just 2/3 of an inning–with soreness in his right trapezius (the muscle that runs from the neck to the shoulder). Harrell, a fourth-round pick in 2004, has battled command problems since being promoted to Double-A Birmingham, walking 14 in just 10 innings of work. The 21-year-old righthander went 7-2, 2.45 in 92 innings at high Class A Winston-Salem before being promoted to the Barons. Harrell is listed as day-to-day and will likely not miss a start.

• The Rangers made three moves at Triple-A Oklahoma, placing righthanders Edinson Volquez (calf strain) and Ryan Bukvich (elbow soreness) and outfielder Jason Botts (right wrist sprain) on the disabled list. Volquez is 6-6, 3.21 with a 130-72 strikeout-walk ratio in 121 innings overall this season; Bukvich is 3-2, 5.52 in 31 innings; and Botts is hitting .309/.398/.582 in 220 at-bats.

• High-A Kinston lefthander Chuck Lofgren won his 14th game of the season on Thursday, tying him with Nick Adenhart, Zach Segovia and Jason Windsor for the minor league lead. In doing so, Lofgren struck out 10 batters over six innings, a career-high strikeout total. While Lofgren’™s stuff was sharp, he was surprised to see his whiff total rise as high as it did. “It surprised me because I came out there just wanting to get ground balls,” Lofgren told the Kinston Free Press. “I wanted to go deep into the game. But when you sit back and just trust your stuff, you get strikeouts when you’™re not trying to strike someone out–when you’™re just fluid with your motions.”

• Marlins righthander Chris Volstad continued his fantastic pitching for low Class A Greensboro last night as he threw six shutout innings to win his fifth straight decision as the Grasshoppers defeated Savannah 4-0. The 2005 first-rounder out of Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) High had a disastrous May where he went 1-4, 5.94, but since then he has been brilliant. Since June 1, he is 4-3, 1.92 in 61 innings with a 44-19 strikeout-walk ratio. “His offspeed pitches in general have gotten better,” Greensboro pitching coach Steve Foster told the Greensboro News & Record. “And he’™s kept his (velocity) command up the entire year. He’™s been 91-93 (mph) all year.”

Zach Ward got his first start as a Twin since being dealt from the Reds at the deadline for righthander Kyle Lohse, and it was against his former club. The righthander was spectacular for low Class A Beloit last night as he held Dayton to only one hit over 5 2/3 innings to improve his record to 8-0, 2.18. A third-rounder of the Reds in 2005 out of Gardner-Webb, Ward found out about the trade on Monday while Dayton was in Peoria. Since they were scheduled to head to Beloit next, he got to take one final bus trip with his Dragon teammates who were kind enough to give him a lift to his new affiliate. Ward was not as kind to his former teammates last night.

Contributing: Matt Meyers, Bryan Smith.