On a cloudy, muggy day at McCoy Stadium, the PawSox faced against the Louisville Bats in the weekend series finale. Unfortunately the PawSox couldn't complete the sweep as they dropped to the Bats. However the game actually marked the first injury rehab assignment for the team with Boston Red Sox pitcher Justin Masterson taking the mound.
Originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the second round of the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft, Masterson made his major league debut back on April 24, 2008. From then on he mostly spent his time as a relief pitcher with the ’08 club, going 6-5 with a 3.16 ERA in 36 games. Then during the 2009 season Masterson was shipped with two other minor leaguers to the Cleveland Indians for C/1B Victor Martinez. From 2009 to 2014, Masterson was a starter for the Indians before getting shipped to the St. Louis Cardinals to finish the 2014 MLB Season.
Then during the offseason, Masterson was signed by the Boston Red Sox back on December 11, 2014, reuniting with the team that originally drafted him. The deal itself was a one year deal worth $9.5 million. However things didn’t fall in his favor as the 30-year old veteran went 2-2 with an ERA of 6.37 in seven starts. Then on May 13, Masterson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis.
Then on May 31, he made his first rehab assignment start in a matinee game for the PawSox against the Louisville Bats. The good news that Masterson didn’t show any discomfort in his right shoulder, reaching speeds of 87-92 with his two fastball pitches (two-seam and sinker) and mid 70s with his slider. Not to mention that 60% of his pitches thrown were for strikes.
The bad news was that though the arm strength was back, there was no control. Masterson gave up 3 walks to go along with 2 wild pitches that allowed 2 runs to score. Not to mention that he threw too many pitches in too short of a time (50 pitches in 1 2/3 innings). There was still some evidence of rust with Masterson since he had not pitched in a live game since May 12.
However like all good things, it takes time and effort to get back to what you were prior to injury. In a mini-conference with the media, Masterson spoke about his performance in the game.
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Masterson's next rehab start will not be with the Pawtucket Red Sox. Rather, it'll be with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs.
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