Boston Red Sox designate Justin Masterson for assignment


The Boston Red Sox have designated right-handed pitcher Justin Masterson for assignment following Sunday’s game. Masterson was among the players placed on revocable waivers last week, but they were unable to find another team interested in taking his salary off their hands.

Masterson pitched an inning of relief in his final game with the Red Sox on Sunday against the Detroit Tigers, surrendering a solo home run and a walk, while striking out a batter in his inning of work.

More from Red Sox News

After starting the season in the rotation, Masterson went on the disabled list in May with shoulder inflammation after posting a brutal 6.37 ERA through seven starts. In his absence the Red Sox promoted Eduardo Rodriguez, whose early success and bright future took away Masterson’s chance at reclaiming his starting role.

When Masterson returned he was given a couple of spot starts, but it wasn’t long before he was relegated to the bullpen. He posted a 4.11 ERA in 9 relief appearances, covering 15.1 innings. While the results were an improvement, the team didn’t seem to have a defined role for him, as they toyed with him in long relief as well as single-inning appearances.

When questioned about Masterson’s struggles this season, manager John Farrell pointed to a lack of consistency as the main concern.

"“It was consistent strike-throwing when you boil it down,” said Farrell, according to “He flashed some better arm strength at various points in time in the season but the overall consistency wasn’t there. He was tough on some righthanders but the ability to hold it together in a starting role, multiple times through the order, came and went.”"

More from Red Sox News

Farrell went on to explain that while Masterson showed flashes of solid contribution in a bullpen role, the consistency the team was looking for still wasn’t there. With an off day scheduled for Monday, now was the time they felt they should make the decision so that Masterson wouldn’t have to travel with the team all the way to Miami before receiving the bad news.

Masterson was an All-Star in 2013, but he declined drastically last year as arm troubles sapped some of his velocity. He settled for a one-year, $9.5 million deal with the Red Sox, hoping to prove himself again so that he could re-enter free agency the following winter seeking a long-term deal, but it’s unlikely he’ll find that now.

If Masterson’s velocity never returns to his pre-injury form, he may need to learn how to become a different pitcher. Perhaps he can do so in a bullpen role where he won’t have to face the same hitters repeatedly.

Mookie Betts is expected to be activated from the disabled list in time for Tuesday’s game, but Farrell indicated that another roster move will likely need to be made, as they want to add another reliever to replace Masterson.