Southpaw Milner returns to Phillies

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On Friday, the Indians returned Milner to the Phillies.

“I assumed right, when I was sent back to the Phillies, that I would go straight back to Minor League camp,” Milner said, pleasantly surprised he was asked to report to Major League camp as a non-roster invitee.

The state of the Indians’ organization — attempting to repeat as American League champs — and specifically the bullpen, dampened his chances of making the team.

In February, the Indians bolstered a top-notch relief corps that already featured shutdown lefty Andrew Miller with Boone Logan, another top arm.

“They have two of the best lefty relievers in the game,” Milner said. “I knew I would have had to really impress if I wanted to be a third lefty, and it just didn’t work out.”

But the difficult task of cracking such a talented bullpen simultaneously meant that the Indians felt it was worth their while to give him a shot to do so. That’s a confidence boost.

“You feel valued when a team like that puts you on their 40 [-man roster],” Milner said.

“I’m glad I got the opportunity to come out here and for the staff to get to see me pitch, because I’m a little different pitcher than I was last year.”

Milner is confident he improved last year in his first full year throwing from a side-arm slot. Phillies Minor League pitching coordinator Rafael Chaves suggested the modification to him toward the end of 2015.

In his first 419 innings in the Phillies’ system, Milner posted a 3.71 ERA. Last year, after dropping his arm slot, his ERA dropped to 2.49.

“I feel like I’m more on the map now.”

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

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