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Andrew Miller expected to require season-ending surgery on foot; Sox will explore options to replace him

07.08.13 at 8:29 pm ET
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Andrew Miller is expected to require season-ending surgery. (AP)

Andrew Miller is expected to require season-ending surgery. (AP)

Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Seattle — where the Red Sox are set to open a four-game series on Monday night — that left-hander Andrew Miller will require season-ending surgery to repair ligament damage in his left foot. Miller suffered the injury while trying to landing awkwardly while trying to jump out of the way of a comebacker against the Angels on Saturday night.

Miller was emerging as a dominant presence in the Red Sox system, working to a 2.64 ERA with 14.1 strikeouts per nine innings and 5.0 walks per nine innings in 37 games (30 2/3 innings this year).

“Given the way he’s pitched as a power left-hander, it’s [a significant loss],” Farrell told reporters. “From the role change that’s obviously agreed with him to the change in his delivery, which has allowed him to repeat a release point more consistently and really to harness well-above-average stuff, there’s many examples of lefties coming along at different points in time in their career. He was another example of that, where it was happening a little later than maybe first anticipated. But maybe because of the reasons just stated, the role and the change in delivery, well on his way to becoming a dominant left-handed reliever.”

In his absence, the Sox have few obvious in-house alternatives. Craig Breslow is the only left-hander currently on the active roster. Franklin Morales is on the DL. Pawtucket left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith, who has a 1.03 ERA and has held lefties to a .155 average this year with 15 strikeouts and two walks in 58 at-bats, is on the DL after an emergency appendectomy at the end of June. Drake Britton, who was recently promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket, has worked almost exclusively as a starter in his career — though he did have some shorter-innings stints in late-2011 with High-A Salem while the team was trying to salvage a rough season.

Still, there are no obvious immediate solutions in the organization. That said, GM Ben Cherington suggested that — while the team will see what avenues are available in the trade market — the team did have internal options to explore.

“I guess you lose a guy, he has to be replaced somehow,” Cherington told reporters. “We still think we have some internal options we can consider. We may take a look at some of those in different ways over the course of the next few weeks. We’ve got to have an open mind. As I said before, the players and the staff have done a great job putting us int his position working so hard, so we have an obligation to help them if we can. Losing Andrew is not something we were planning on. We’ll have to react and try to find solutions.

“[Miller is] a big part of our ‘pen obviously. These things happen. No matter what the resolution is [when Miller gets a second opinion] later in the week, my understanding is he will recover fully and the worst case is we’ve got a real good pitcher in our ‘pen for next year,” Cherington added. “We’ve had guys step up all year when the opportunity presents, and we just need that to continue. We’ll see what other opportunities come our way later in the month. I suspect that what we’ll see more than anything is the opportunity going to guys that are here. We hope guys step up and take advantage of it.”

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