The Boston Red Sox have placed embattled starting pitcher Justin Masterson on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday and recalled lefty reliever Robbie Ross from the club's Triple-A affiliate at Pawtucket to replace him on the roster.
The move came two days after the 30-year-old former second-round Boston draft pick got shelled for six runs in two and one-third innings pitched by the Oakland Athletics and one day after the Boston manager triggered a minor controversy by saying it was his opinion Masterson was injured, which Masterson strenuously denied. That seeming contradiction was followed by the release of a team statement that they were "moving toward" placing him on the disabled list with "general fatigue." Today, the official cause was given as "right shoulder tendonitis."
The move to the DL was made retroactive to Wednesday, which could potentially make him eligible to return May 28th for a series opener against the Texas Rangers on a day his turn in the rotation would fall.
Masterson's drubbing at the hands of the Athletics was preceded by a bad start against the Tampa Bay Rays that, combined, totals 10 runs on 13 hits and seven walks over his last six and two-thirds innings pitched. To date, he's compiled a 2-2 record with a 6.37 ERA, 64 ERA+, 5.29 FIP and a 1.670 WHIP in 35 and 1/3 innings pitched over seven starts. Last year, over 25 combined starts and 128 and 2/3 innings pitched for the Cleveland Indians and the St. Louis Cardinals, he carried a 5.88 ERA, 64 ERA+, 4.50 FIP and a 1.653 WHIP -- all career worsts, until now.
Ross has pitched 11 and 2/3 innings over 13 appearances for the Red Sox this year and carries a 6.17 ERA. Acquired this winter in a swap for Boston pitching prospect Anthony Ranaudo, the 25-year-old former second round pick split his 2014 season between the arms-depleted Rangers' rotation and bullpen. He opened the season with 12 mostly forgettable starts in which he went 1-6 over 60 innings pitched and carried a 5.70 ERA, with a 6.3 K/9, a 1.75 K/BB and a 1.617 WHIP; surrendering an aggregate of .298/.372/.453 slash line to opposing batters.
The Rangers moved him to the bullpen where things went from bad to worse for him. Over 15 relief appearances spanning 18 and 1/3 innings, he carried a 7.85 ERA, 4.4 K/9, 1.5 K/BB, and a 1.964 WHIP, as batters gashed him for a bloody slash line of .385/.435/500.