Jeremy Hellickson “felt great” throwing for the first time after surgery

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Jeremy Hellickson made 25 throws from flat ground today for his first action since undergoing elbow surgery in January and afterward the Rays right-hander told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that “it felt really good.”

At the time of the surgery to remove “loose bodies” from his elbow Hellickson was expected to be out until May, but today he called late May a “best-case scenario” while focusing on June 1 as the new target date.

Hellickson won the Rookie of the Year award in 2011 and followed that up with a very good 2012 season, but then struggled last year with a 5.27 ERA that got him yanked from the Rays’ rotation.

Justin Masterson is retired and doing missionary work

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Fancred’s Jon Heyman reports that pitcher Justin Masterson is retired from baseball and currently doing missionary work, according to his agent Randy Rowley.

Masterson, 33, hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2015, though he had been trying to find work going into the past season but never latched on with a team. He spent 2016 in the Pirates’ minor league system and 2017 at the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate.

Masterson spent parts of eight seasons in the majors with the Red Sox, Indians, and Cardinals. Across 258 appearances, 184 of which were starts, the right-hander compiled a 4.31 ERA with 1,004 strikeouts and 498 walks in 1,201 innings of work.