Decision looming for southpaw Miller, Red Sox

Decision looming for southpaw Miller, Red Sox

Decision looming for southpaw Miller, Red Sox
ST. PETERSBURG -- Triple-A Pawtucket left-hander Andrew Miller, who was once one of the best starting pitching prospects in baseball, can become a free agent if he chooses on Wednesday. However, the Red Sox hope he will remain in the organization. With that in mind, Boston general manager Theo Epstein will meet with Miller on Wednesday before a decision is made.

Miller certainly made his case to get a chance to pitch in Boston soon, producing another strong performance for Pawtucket on Tuesday. Over 5 1/3 innings against Charlotte, Miller allowed five hits and a run, walking one and striking out 10.

"I know Theo plans to sit with him tomorrow and kind of talk about his status," said manager Terry Francona. "That's really about it. He's actually already been in touch with him a little bit. He's pretty good at the communication part. He's throwing the ball great. He's somebody we've obviously watched since Spring Training with anticipation because of what he potentially can do, but I do know Theo is going to sit and visit with him."

Miller has appeared in 13 games for the PawSox, 12 of them starts. He is 3-3 with a 2.47 ERA and has 61 strikeouts and 35 walks in 65 2/3 innings.

The Boston Globe, citing an unnamed source, said that the Red Sox are already plotting a way to get Miller a start in Boston, perhaps as early as next week when the Padres come to Fenway.

"The last three, four starts have been really good," Francona said. "He's got a great arm. There are times where he doesn't throw strikes. He'll go through an inning where he'll walk a couple. What's funny about that is he's got such a nice feel for his breaking ball. [He's a] big, tall gangly kid, but he just manipulates the breaking ball really well.

"It kind of gives you a reason to be optimistic, because you don't normally see that with a guy that's not commanding. There's a lot to like about him. He's a good kid. He's grounded. He went through a lot of stuff in the winter talking to him, because I wanted him here so bad. I kind of spent some time talking to him. He's just a likeable kid. I think he wants to succeed here. I think he likes it here."

The Red Sox are pretty well stocked in the rotation with Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey and Tim Wakefield. Alfredo Aceves is the "sixth man."

Could Miller contribute out of the bullpen?

"I guess that's to be determined," Francona said. "I think he likes starting. I think that was the best way to get his repetition, but he's doing so well that ... finding starters, it's not an easy thing to do. You can always put a guy in the bullpen, but I think he enjoys starting."

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.