Nine pitches. Nine strikes. Three swinging strikeouts. And a flawless fourth inning for Indians right-hander Justin Masterson against the Red Sox:
Masterson has struggled somewhat this season because of poor control, but after posting some sub par strikeout numbers early in his career as a starter he now has 263 strikeouts in 267 innings dating back to the beginning of last season.
Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.
Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.
Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.