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Compiled by Kevin Goldstein, Chris Kline and Matt Meyers
August 29, 2005

Adam Miller seemed to be putting all the pieces back together this season, but the reality is that his road to a full recovery from arm woes has hit bumps in the road.

The Indians righthander ran into another roadblock Sunday night for high Class A Kinston as he struggled through arguably his worst outing of the season.

Miller has been on a 75-pitch count or seven innings for the last several weeks as Cleveland tries to stretch him out, because he spent the majority of the year in extended spring training nursing a strained ligament in his elbow. Sunday, he didn’t make it that far, as Potomac put up 10 runs (five earned) on nine hits against the Tribe’s No. 1 prospect, chasing him after just 3 2/3 innings.

Miller had been pitching well, giving up just four hits over 11 shutout innings in his two previous outings. But Sunday, his body language betrayed his frustration. He looked exasperated after giving up Potomac first baseman Josh Whitesell’s three-run homer in the inning—his final pitch of the game--on a 93 mph fastball he left up in the zone.

Miller’s velocity showed flashes of being all the way back when he first arrived in Kinston after a brief stop at short-season Mahoning Valley, but in his last few starts, his fastball—normally in the 95-97 range—has been down around 92-94.

“He didn’t looked comfortable at all,” a veteran scout from an American League club said. “At times this year, he’s been nice and free and easy, but he really looked mechanical and was overthrowing.”

As a result, Miller’s command was off. He didn’t locate his fastball or 87-88 mph slider, and hitters weren’t fooled by the arm action on his changeup, a pitch he’s trying to throw more frequently this season.

Whitesell owned him in two at-bats, the first coming with an opposite field, two-run double in the first on a 94-mph fastball the 31st overall pick in 2003 left up and inside in the zone.

“It’s the worst I’ve seen him, in terms of frustration level,” the scout said. “This is a guy who never seemed to let things bother him in the past, but this club had him running.”

And it certainly wasn’t like Miller’s two previous outings when he went 1-0, and allowed just four hits over 11 total shutout innings.



• Potential bad news for Red Sox fans: Righthander Anibal Sanchez left Double-A Portland’s game after the fourth inning Sunday, complaining of soreness in his elbow and forearm. Sanchez was working on a two-hit shutout when he went down with the injury, but Sea Dogs manager Todd Claus told the Portland Press-Herald he expects the righthander to be fine. Sanchez missed all of 2003 after elbow surgery to transpose a nerve.

• Double-A Birmingham righthander Charles Haeger finished up the series against South Division rival Jacksonville in a big way, tossing a nine-inning complete game shutout against the Suns. With the win, the Barons earned a split of the series with Jacksonville, keeping a 1 ½ game lead over the Suns with seven games to play. Haeger allowed just five hits, walking four and striking out five. The teams will meet up one more time this season—for a four-game series in Birmingham Sept. 2-5, to decide the division winner. Jacksonville won the first-half title.

• Phillies outfielder Chris Roberson established a new season record for hits (163) at Double-A Reading after going 3-for-4 Sunday in the R-Phils 3-0 win against Bowie. Roberson is hitting .311/.369/.469 in 524 at-bats overall this season.

• There is no one sadder to see August go more than Chris Oxspring. It was a "g'day" on Sunday for the Aussie as allowed one unearned run over seven innings while fanning four. In August, the Padres righthander was 5-0, 2.14 and his win on Saturday was his 12th, which is a Portland Beavers record for wins in a Pacific Coast League season.

• It was open season on the record books this weekend as Carlos Quentin set a PCL record. The Diamondbacks outfielder was hit by three pitches on Sunday and set the league record with 28 HBPs this season.

• The Cardinals have gotten some nice returns from their draft thus far at Rookie-level Johnson City of the Appalachian League. A perfect example was Sunday's contest where fourth-rounder Bryan Anderson out of Simi Valley (Calif.) High went 4-for-5 with a homer and five RBIs, and first-rounder Colby Rasmus out of Russell County (Ala.) High was 2-for-4 with a homer (his seventh) a walk and his 12th stolen base. Anderson, a catcher, is hitting .327/.383/.497 on the season with five homers while Rasmus, an outfielder, is .301/.370/.522.

• Rockies first baseman Joe Koshansky hit his first Double-A home run Sunday as Tulsa dropped a 10-5 Texas League game to Arkansas. Koshansky hit .291-36-103 in 120 games for Asheville in the Sally League, and his 37 home runs on the year trail only Brandon Wood for the overall minor league lead.

• The 10 runs for Arkansas is becoming the norm for a team that has scored 77 runs in their last eight games, of which they’ve won seven. The Travelers have been riding hot bats from some of their top prospects. Shortstop Erick Aybar is batting .394 in his last 30 games, raising his season averages to .306/.352/.449; second baseman Howie Kendrick is batting .390 with 32 RBIs in his last 25 games and now batting .351/.382/.589 in 40 games since his promotion. But the hottest bat remains first baseman Kendry Morales, who is a remarkable 17-for-23 (.739) in his last five games, to go along with monthly totals of .389-9-21 in 25 games.

• After batting .318-8-30 in 47 Florida State League games, Cardinals outfielder Cody Haerther struggled to adjust to the more advanced pitching of the Texas League, batting just .200-0-2 in his first 15 games for Double-A Springfield. Things have turned around for the 2002 sixth-round pick. Currently riding an 11-game hitting streak and batting .413 in his last 20 games, Haerther is now batting .306/.339/.517 in 180 at-bats since his promotion.

• While Double-A Wichita has dropped five straight games, don’t blame outfielder Billy Butler. The 2004 first-round pick, who hit .348-25-91 in 92 games for high Class A High Desert, is 10-for-21 with three doubles and three home runs in his last five games for the Wranglers, and batting .337/.360/.578 in 83 at-bats since his promotion.

• Citing a heavy college workload, the Padres have put first-round pick Cesar Carrillo on a strict pitch count and sent him down to high Class A Lake Elsinore to help out of the bullpen in the California League playoffs. Carrillo, who was 4-0, 3.23 in five starts for Double-A Mobile, allowing one run on three hits over two innings on Friday night in his return to the Storm. Carrillo has thrown 178 innings combined between pro ball and Miami.

• Royals 2003 first-round pick Chris Lubanski passed 100 RBIs over the weekend, and while his .290-25-104 season may look like a breakout year, his home/road splits tell the real story. Playing in one of the best hitters parks around at high Class A High Desert, Lubanski is batting .342-16-59 in 57 home games but just .245-9-45 in 63 road contests.

• Marlins 2004 first-round pick Taylor Tankersley fired his first career complete game on Saturday, tossing a seven-inning three-hitter in high Class A Jupiter’s 5-1 win over Vero Beach. The 22-year-old lefty, s a disappointing 2-7, 5.18 in 12 games for low Class A Greensboro to start the season, has a 3.00 ERA in three appearances for the Hammerheads.

• The Tigers’ fourth-round pick this June, righthander Kevin Whelan has been dominant as a pro. Pitching a combined 22 games between short-season Oneonta and low Class A West Michigan, Whelan is 1-1, 1.66 with 11 saves, allowing just six hits in 21 2/3 innings while striking out 27.

• A teammate of Whelan at Texas A&M and a seventh-round pick by the Blue Jays, righthander Robert Ray has also been impressive. Pitching for short-season Auburn, the 6-foot-5 righthander pitched the first five innings of a combined no-hitter on Friday, and his 3-2, 2.56 in 13 games, limiting opposing batters to a .188 average.

• Going from the June draft to the Arizona Fall League is a daunting challenge, but No. 3 overall pick Jeff Clement is looking like he’ll be up to the challenge. Playing for low Class A Wisconsin, the Mariners’ top pick is batting .369/.449/.583 in 23 games for the Timber Rattlers, including a white-hot .571-5-13 mark in his last nine games.

• With the GCL season coming to a close, the Pirates sent first-round pick Andrew McCutchen to Williamsport in the New York Penn League, and the toolsy centerfielder was 7-for-14 in his first three games for the Crosscutters.

• Righthander Chaz Roe, the Rockies' supplemental first-round pick in June out of Lafayette High in Lexington, Ky., continues to be a bit wild at Rookie-level Casper. Roe struck out five but walked four and threw three wild pitches in three innings of work against Ogden on Sunday. His strikeout numbers have been impressive thus far in his pro career; he has 49 Ks in 43 innings, but he also has 31 walks, 11 of them coming over his last three starts (12 2/3 innings). Roe is 4-2, 3.53 in 10 starts this year.

• Righthander Keaton Everitt threw five shutout innings to lead the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Yankees to a 10-1 win and a sweep of the GCL Mets in the best-of-three league championship series. Everitt, a 17th-round pick this year out of Washington, was sent down to the GCL after posting a 6.00 ERA and an 8-11 strikeout-walk ratio in 12 innings at short-season Staten Island to start his pro career. But his command was much better in the Gulf Coast League, where he went 3-0, 3.19 with 28 strikeouts and seven walks in 31 innings during the regular season. Everitt yielded just two hits and a walk while striking out five against the Mets on Sunday.

Truan Mehl's August tear continued in the Arizona League. The Rangers outfielder, drafted in the 30th round in June out of Maryland, went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and four RBIs in the AZL Rangers' 12-7 loss to the AZL Athletics. Mehl is now hitting .365 with 19 RBIs in August and .320 with 33 RBIs in 203 at-bats overall.

• Diamondbacks lefthander Ryan Schreppel's last two starts at short-season Yakima have proven his best as a pro. The eighth-round pick from Cal State Fullerton struck out 10 batters in six innings Sunday against Spokane, allowing three runs (one earned) on two hits. It closely resembled Schreppel's previous start, in which he struck out nine Eugene batters over 6 2/3 innings, allowing an unearned run on two hits. He won the Eugene start, but didn't get a decision against Yakima despite leaving with a 9-3 lead. Late Spokane rallies tied the game before Yakima won 10-9 in 11 innings. Schreppel is 2-2, 3.72 with strikeouts and 18 walks in 39 innings using a fastball that pushes 90 mph at best and a plus changeup.

• Boise held Tri-City to two hits in a 4-0 win Sunday. Lefthander Donald Veal, the Cubs' second-round pick out of Pima (Ariz.) CC), started the game and worked four scoreless innings while recording seven strikeouts against three walks. Lefthander Ryan Chambers followed, allowing the only Tri-City hits of the day in 3 2/3 innings while ringing up six batters. Righthander Nick Thompson finished the game. Veal, whose low-90s fastball can reach 97 mph, owns only one win in five pro starts. He's worked just 19 total innings as the Cubs are taking it easy on a pitcher who ranked second among all Arizona junior college pitchers with 105 strikeouts during the spring.

• A’s righthander Jimmy Shull struck out nine Everett batters over six scoreless innings Saturday for short-season Vancouver. Shull, a fourth-round pick from Cal Poly, has recorded 66 strikeouts against eight walks in 61 professional innings. His latest start improved his ERA to fourth in the league at 2.36, though he didn¹t earn his fourth win because counterpart Harold Williams, making his second Northwest League start since a promotion from the Rookie-level Arizona League, threw five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts.

• Look out for Royals lefthander Brent Fisher, an 18-year-old who struck out nine in what is likely his last start of the season. Fisher pitched five shutout innings against the Angels and is 5-2, 3.04 in 50 innings overall with a sterling 69-13 strikeout-walk ratio. Fisher was a seventh-round pick out of Tolleson Union High in Goodyear, Ariz.

Contributing: Aaron Fitt, Will Kimmey, John Manuel.

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