Justin Masterson will pitch as a reliever for the remainder of the season in an effort to limit his workload, according to the Indians’ official Twitter feed. He will be available out of the bullpen for tonight’s game against the Twins.
Masterson is at 166 innings this season after throwing 129 1/3 innings between the Red Sox and Indians last season. Besides jockeying with the Royals for last place in the AL Central, the Indians don’t have much to play for, so it makes plenty of sense to manage him carefully down the stretch.
The 25-year-old right-hander has struggled at times this season, but has rallied to lower his ERA from 5.47 to 4.88 over the past month. Masterson posted a 1.74 ERA over his final three starts, including seven innings of one-run ball in a win over the Angels on Tuesday.
A groundball pitcher like Masterson will probably see his luck fluctuate from year-to-year, but as long as he can continue to improve his command, he should be a pretty useful starter for the Indians moving forward.
The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.
The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.
Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.
Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.