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08/04/09 7:05 PM ET
Masterson could join rotation next week
Right-hander pitched three shutout innings in Indians debut
By Matt O'Donnell / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Justin Masterson could enter the rotation as early as next week, according to manager Eric Wedge. Last week, Wedge said that Masterson, acquired in last week's trade that sent Victor Martinez to the Red Sox, would need at least three appearances out of the bullpen before he could move into the rotation. But after an impressive, 46-pitch relief appearance against the Tigers on Saturday, Wedge couldn't rule out a quicker than expected transition. "It could be as early as next time around [the rotation]," Wedge said. "We'll have him work out of the bullpen at least one more time and work from there." In his first appearance with the Indians, Masterson pitched three scoreless innings, giving up just two hits while striking out four and walking one. Wedge said that he would like to get Masterson at least three innings in his next appearance out of the 'pen. But if he can't, Masterson will throw a side session in the bullpen to get his work in. He added that moving a reliever to the rotation so quickly might be an injury risk for some guys, but because Masterson has 15 career starts in the Majors, the team isn't worried about it. "I don't think there is a danger in it," Wedge said. "We're going to be smart about it." Masterson, who was 2-2 with a 4.58 ERA in six starts early this season, said he'd be smart about it, too. "I've been blessed with a rubber arm," he said. "But you also have to stay on top of your exercises and communicate what you're feeling. There shouldn't be too many issues."
Matt O'Donnell is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.