CLEVELAND – Right-hander Justin Masterson began the season as a starting pitcher, but he will finish it as a reliever.
Masterson, who is nearing his innings limitation, was moved to the bullpen Saturday, with the Indians opting to keep him activated for the rest of the year, rather than shutting him down after one more start.
Masterson (6-12, 4.88 ERA) has tossed 166 innings, with manager Manny Acta saying he was 8-10 innings away from reaching his limit.
The move comes with Masterson in the midst of his best spell as a starter. He is 3-2 with a 2.95 ERA over his last seven outings since Aug. 4.
“I think it gave him a lot of confidence the way he’s pitched over his last few starts and showed why we felt this guy could start for the whole season up here,” Acta said.
Masterson appeared better suited for relief work for much of the season, but his strong finish has him back in the rotation plans for 2011.
“He’s a starter as of now,” Acta said. “He’s going to go into spring training as a starter, unless we sign five Bob Fellers.”
Fausto Carmona snapped a personal six-game losing streak via a three-hit shutout in Friday’s 2-0 victory over Minnesota. He became the first pitcher to end a losing streak of six games or more with a shutout since Rick Langford did it for Oakland in 1980.
It was Carmona’s second straight complete game, giving him four for the season (fifth in the American League). The right-hander has tossed 16 straight scoreless innings, the most by an Indians pitcher since Cliff Lee’s 27 consecutive scoreless innings in 2008.
Triple-A Columbus advanced to the Governors’ Cup Championship Series with an 11-5 victory over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday. Paolo Espino got the win, allowing two runs on five hits, while striking out six over seven innings. First baseman Drew Sutton and shortstop Josh Rodriguez powered the offense, combining for five hits and six RBIs. The Clippers await the winner of the Louisville/Durham series, hosting the first two games of the title series, which is scheduled to begin Tuesday. … Class A Lake County advanced to the Midwest League semifinals with a 3-2 win over West Michigan on Friday. Right-hander Jason Knapp, acquired in the Lee trade with Philadelphia last year, pitched five scoreless innings to get the win, allowing two hits and striking out six. The Captains opened their three-game semifinal series against Great Lakes on Saturday. … Advanced Class A Kinston’s season ended Friday in a 10-5, 12-inning loss that completed a three-game playoff sweep for Winston-Salem.
Closer Chris Perez entered Saturday with a 0.65 ERA since June 28, which was the lowest among major league relievers over the span. … Catcher Lou Marson entered Saturday having thrown out an AL-best 23-of-64 (35.9 percent) of runners attempting to steal off him. … Today, 1:05, Channel 3/WEOL 930-AM/WTAM 1100-AM. Talbot (9-11, 4.40) vs. Slowey (11-6, 4.39).
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.