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.