Miller says he'll start Sunday

Miller says he'll start Sunday

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- As far as Boston right-hander Wade Miller is concerned, it's time to put up or shut up.

Miller made his second rehab start for the Pawtucket Red Sox on Tuesday night, and fourth overall since beginning the season on Boston's disabled list with a frayed labrum. Pawtucket edged the Rochester Red Wings, 6-5, and afterward Miller acknowledged that he would be joining Boston and starting Sunday at Fenway Park against Seattle.

"I realize that starters have to bear down, and with me joining the rotation this weekend, it's time for me to bear down and start pitching well, and start throwing some quality outings so we can get some wins," Miller said. "I think we're doing all right now for what we have. We're not throwing shabby pitchers out there. But we just need to pick it up some more.

"[Boston general manager] Theo [Epstein] said everything looked good. He said, 'Way to go with your rehab. Be ready to go Sunday.'"

Miller pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits, four walks and one wild pitch. He struck out seven and threw 54 of his 94 pitches for strikes.

Miller indicated the injury that sidelined him is not a concern.

"I felt fine ... didn't feel anything bad," he said. "Everything was pretty decent. I think it's about time to move forward."

PawSox manager Ron Johnson stated that even though Miller's control was a bit shaky at times, the primary concern is the pitcher's precious right arm.

"I'm not going to sit here and critique his command, because that's really not the purpose of what we're doing here," Johnson said. "This is about him being healthy and how the ball is coming out of his hand.

"It was nice because he wanted to go back out in the sixth inning, because he was at about 80 pitches and he wanted to get his pitch total up. That tells me he felt real good about himself, that he was good and healthy and strong and prepared to go out there so he could set himself up for that start on Sunday."

Miller didn't exactly blow out the McCoy Stadium radar gun, but the readings he did reach were acceptable.

"I think I topped out at 91 mph and that's fine," he said. "If I'm throwing that, I think my stuff is good enough to get hitters out. I just need to locate a little better with my fastball. I think my breaking stuff is pretty decent right now. If I can mix in a good quality fastball with my breaking stuff I think I should be almost where I need to be."

One fastball that Miller didn't locate where he wanted was thrown in the fourth inning with Pawtucket leading, 1-0. Michael Ryan drew a leadoff walk and Terry Tiffee lined a two-run homer into the right-field seats.

"It was a 2-and-0 fastball right down the middle and he hit it out," Miller said. "I've done that plenty of times."

Miller blanked Rochester on two hits over the first three innings and even picked Josh Rabe off first base in the second.

After Tiffee's fourth-inning homer, Miller was clipped for two fifth-inning runs -- one of which was unearned due to a throwing error by catcher Kelly Shoppach. Tiffee grounded an RBI single to left field and turned toward second on the throw home by Mike Lockwood. Shoppach's throw to second sailed into center field -- which was vacated because George Lombard was backing up Lockwood -- and kept rolling. That miscue allowed Tiffee to race home.

But Miller ended the fifth by striking out Garrett Jones and fanned Rabe to open the sixth. He completed his work by retiring Todd Dunwoody on a liner to right.

"I wasn't real happy about giving up that base hit," Miller said. "In a situation like that, you try to bear down and nip it right in the bud, and try to get the next guy out. I might have had a little more intensity with [Jones]. And in the last inning I had 10 or 12 pitches to go, so I knew it was time to bear down a little bit more and get those last guys out before I got yanked."

Now, Miller gets to bear down for Boston.

Mike Scandura is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.