Masterson Earns EL Pitcher Of The Week Honors

Double-A Portland right-handed pitcher Justin Masterson has been selected the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending April 13. Major League Baseball Advanced Media made the selection.

Masterson, 23, started twice for the Sea Dogs during the season's first nine days and was magnificent as he tossed a total of nine shutout innings against New Britain April 3 and Connecticut April 8. He didn't issue a walk in either start.

Against New Britain, Masterson allowed three hits and struck out three in four innings. Against Connecticut, Masterson lasted five innings and gave up just two hits while striking out seven. He didn't factor into the decision in either start.

Masterson joined the Sea Dogs last July 7 and threw 6 2/3 hitless innings in his debut against New Hampshire two days later. That effort helped earn him Eastern League Pitcher of the Week honors for the week of July 9-15. He was also named the Eastern League's Pitcher of the Month for July after he won his first four decisions with the Sea Dogs.

Overall with the Sea Dogs, Masterson went 4-3 with a 4.34 ERA. Between Portland and Single-A Lancaster, Masterson went 12-8 overall with a 4.33 ERA. He struck out 115 and walked 40 in 153 2/3 innings—tied for second-most among Sox minor leaguers with Travis Beazley.

Masterson was selected by the Sox out of San Diego State—where he played for National Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn—in the second round of the 2006 draft. He pitched entirely in relief for short-season Single-A Lowell that summer and posted a 0.84 ERA with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 33-to-2 in 32 innings for the Spinners.

Masterson, who turned 23 March 22, is ranked third in Diehard's 2008 prospect guide. He was ranked 12th in Diehard's 2007 prospect guide.

Masterson will attempt to build off his award-winning first week of the season tonight, when he is scheduled to take the mound for the Sea Dogs against Connecticut at Hadlock Field. The Sea Dogs are 6-3 so far this season.

More Sea Dogs bites: Tonight's start against Connecticut marks the second straight time Masterson has faced the Defenders' Adam Cowart…The Sea Dogs bullpen has been impressive over the season's first 10 days. Sea Dogs relievers have allowed just one of 13 inherited runners to score and have retired the first batter faced 19 of 28 times. Overall, Sea Dogs relievers are 4-1 with a 2.16 ERA (10 earned runs in 41 2/3 innings) and five saves. The bulk of the damage occurred Saturday against New Hampshire, when a quartet of relievers (Kyle Jackson, Hunter Jones, Mike James and Miguel Asencio) gave up seven runs in 5 2/3 innings…Asencio, who was promoted from extended spring training Wednesday, is the only member of the Sea Dogs to appear in the big leagues. Asencio pitched for the Royals and Rockies from 2002 through 2006. In fact, only one other Sea Dogs player has even made it to Triple-A yet: Infielder Ryan Khoury had 21 at-bats for Pawtucket in 2006.

Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.

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