The Cleveland Indians once had a prized pitching prospect named Adam Miller, who threw only 70 innings in 2005 because of an elbow strain. In 2006, he pitched 166 2/3 innings for Double-A Akron and was scheduled for the deciding Game 5 of the Eastern League championship series, against the Portland Sea Dogs.
But Cleveland said no. Miller was scratched before the game (which Portland won 8-5), worried that he was throwing too many innings. (Miller, by the way, has yet to reach the majors. he has bounced around with different organizations and, at the age of 29, is back with Akron).
The Boston Red Sox have a well-regarded pitched prospect named Brian Johnson, who pitched only 85 innings last year because of a shoulder strain (for a more complete profile of Johnson, see our column from May).
This season, Johnson was up to 138 2/3 innings before his start on Thursday. After needing only 69 pitches for five shutout innings, Johnson was pulled. "Organizational decision," explained pitching coach Bob Kipper in today's story.
If the Sea Dogs weren't going to the playoffs, Johnson may have pitched longer on Thursday because it would have been his last start. But Johnson could potentially pitch in three playoff games. The Red Sox want to be careful.
Johnson (10-2, 1.75 ERA) was second in the voting for Eastern League Pitcher of the Year, to ex-teammate Henry Owens. Billy McMillon was named Manager of the Year (see the story).
Last year's Eastern League Pitcher of the Year, Anthony Ranaudo, makes his third major league start for Boston tonight, in St. Petersburg. Ranaudo is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA.
Pawtucket got closer to an International League playoff spot with a win Thursday. Garin Cecchini (.264) went 2-for-4, keeping up his hot August nights (.349 in August, with a .963 OPS) ... Blake Swihart (.254) was 2-for-5.
Portland ended up losing Thursday, but still moved closer to the division title because of a Binghamton loss (magic number is now 2) ... Keury De La Cruz (.302) was 3-for-4.
The Sea Dogs begin their last regular-season home stand tonight at 7.