As the Red Sox rotation begins to perform they could be faced with a decision soon, on sending a starter to the bullpen. Justin Masterson took the mound for the PawSox on Wednesday afternoon in his latest rehab outing. It was his second rehab start with the PawSox and third overall, after starting for Portland last Friday.
Masterson was sharp on Wednesday while keeping the ball down, something he struggled with early on in the year up in Boston. Masterson, was among the problem in April and early May when the rotation could not keep the ball down, or get out of six innings. Now that the rotation is starting to look consistent, he may be moved to the bullpen, because Eduardo Rodriguez is not going anywhere. Joe Kelly could be moved to the bullpen if he doesn’t find consistency, and he does miss bats so the bullpen might not be a bad idea.
Masterson made the decision much harder on sending him to the bullpen Wednesday with a stellar performance at McCoy Stadium. Masterson went 6 innings with a line of 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, and 6 K. Among his 6 strikeouts, Masterson struck out a stretch of four out of five Charlotte Knights hitters, who looked over matched. Obviously Masterson has lost velocity and probably won’t return to the mid 90s but if he keeps the ball down he will be most successful.
When the Red Sox return home to Fenway on Friday they will be faced with the decision of activating Masterson. He does have 30 days to spend in the minors, so he could make another rehab start, but that might just delay the decision and cause some friction with him and the staff. Masterson is a veteran who can handle being moved to the bullpen, but he did not seem pleased with being placed on the disabled list in the first place.
They were faced with the decision between moving Steven Wright or Joe Kelly to the bullpen this week as they abandon the six man rotation with some off days coming up. Wright was moved to the bullpen, but Kelly might be so lucky this time when it comes to him and Masterson. Something the Red Sox could also do is option Kelly to Pawtucket to work on consistency as he does have an option remaining, however that is unlikely.
Justin Masterson will be activated from the disabled list soon, but his role is something we all are not aware of yet.