Manager Chris Woodward confirmed Thursday that Miller has been moved to the bullpen, Robert Falkoff of MLB.com reports. Woodward suggested that Miller's transition to relief work won't necessarily be a permanent one, but the right-hander provided little evidence in his eight starts that he's still an MLB-caliber rotation option. He failed to work longer than 5.1 innings in any of those outings and posted a 9.51 ERA and 2.11 WHIP, both of which ranked last among all pitchers who have received at least five starts. Woodward envisions using Miller as a one- or two-inning reliever for the time being, with most of the 28-year-old's initial usage out of the bullpen expected to come in lower-leverage spots.
Miller is not expected to make his next scheduled start, Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News reports. It sounds like Miller will be removed from the rotation for the time being, with Ariel Jurado expected to make a start over the weekend in his place. The 28-year-old Miller was rocked for eight runs in just 1.2 innings his last time out, and he now owns a brutal 9.51 ERA and 20:23 K:BB through 29.1 innings on the season. It remains to be seen whether Miller will rejoin the rotation at a later point in the season after working through some kinks.
Miller (1-3) took the loss Tuesday as the Rangers fell 11-5 to the Royals, surrendering eight runs on seven hits and two walks over only 1.2 innings while striking out one. The right-hander's spot in the rotation seemed to be hanging by a thread coming into this game, and Kansas City took a blowtorch to it, scoring three two-out runs in the first inning before chasing Miller in the second. He now carries a 9.51 ERA and 20:23 K:BB through 29.1 innings, and Texas will have to seriously consider alternatives the next time his turn comes around Sunday.
Miller will make his next scheduled start Tuesday on the road against Kansas City, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Manager Chris Woodward flirted with the idea of moving Miller to the bullpen or skipping his slot Tuesday. The manager opted to keep Miller in the rotation and on schedule instead of moving up Mike Minor to pitch on normal rest. Minor has averaged 106 pitches over his last five starts, a significant leap from the 91-pitch average per outing he had in 2018. Miller will enter the contest with a 7.48 ERA and 21 walks over 27.2 innings.
Miller allowed two runs on four hits with six strikeouts and one walk across four innings during a no-decision against the Pirates on Wednesday. The only real blemish Miller had on the day was a homer yielded to Josh Bell, but that was a big blemish, as Bell deposited Miller's mistake into the river. Miller has struggled so mightily this season, Rangers manager Chris Woodward said last week he was considering moving him to the bullpen. Miller might have earned another start with this performance, but he still has ugly numbers -- 1-2 record, 7.48 ERA, 1.92 WHIP and 19 strikeouts in 27.2 innings.