Report: Indians “very willing” to trade Justin Masterson

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The Indians are still alive in the playoff hunt — in fact, they are just 3 1/2 games back in the hyper-competitive AL Wild Card race at the start of tonight’s action — but Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports hears that they are “very willing to move” right-hander Justin Masterson in a potential trade.

Masterson has been sidelined since July 7 due to right knee inflammation, but he’s due to be activated for a start this Friday against the Rangers. Of course, the non-waiver trade deadline is this Thursday at 4 p.m. ET, so that complicates things a little bit, but doesn’t necessarily rule anything out before then. Deals can still get done in August too, but the process is trickier.

Masterson, an impending free agent, has posted a disappointing 5.51 ERA and 93/56 K/BB ratio in 98 innings across 18 starts this season. The Indians are said to be looking for “young, controllable starting pitching” in return.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.