Masterson optioned to Pawtucket, Buchholz to return

The Red Sox have decided to convert Justin Masterson into a reliever, so they sent him to Pawtucket yesterday. Francona notes that there’s no timetable for his return, but it will likely be once he’s comfortable again in the role and one of the bullpen guys gets injured or really begins to struggle. Masterson has pitched in relief before in the Cape Cod League, and excelled in the role.

I like this move because Masterson is just as good as any reliever we could trade for at this point, and he won’t cost us Michael Bowden or Jed Lowrie. I think Masterson could be a big boon for the Red Sox as a 6th or 7th inning guy, someone who might be able to get a key double play ball with men on base. Patrick Sullivan expresses some of his reservations about Masterson as a reliever, and warns Red Sox fans not to expect the second coming of Jonathan Papelbon, the last Red Sox starter to convert to the pen.

Temporarily taking his place on the active roster is Jeff Bailey, who will bolster the power off the bench in Big Papi’s continued absence. Clay Buchholz is scheduled to return to the rotation on Friday at Fenway Park when the Baltimore Orioles come to town. You might remember that it was the O’s who were the unfortunate victims of his no-hitter last year.


4 Responses to Masterson optioned to Pawtucket, Buchholz to return

  1. redsoxtalk says:

    It looks like shopping for a reliever will get more expensive this deadline. Tampa Bay is reportedly going after Colorado’s Brian Fuentes:

  2. redsoxtalk says:

    So far, so good. On July 10, Masterson pitched the 6th inning of the PawSox loss at Norfolk. He threw 9 of 16 pitches for strikes, and got the hitters 1-2-3, striking out Oscar Salazar to end the frame. Hunter Jones pitched two scoreless innings, but Chris Smith gave up allowed the Tide to tie in the 9th, and eventually gave up the game-winner in the 11th.

  3. Pat says:

    Any radar readings? I wonder if he is throwing harder from the pen?

  4. redsoxtalk says:

    Yeah, I thought of the exact same thing but unfortunately I couldn’t find any reports out there on mph. I do know that Masterson started off the year around 91 mph and has ratcheted it up pretty consistently to 93-94 as this year has progressed, which makes it that much harder for hitters to square up his sinker.

    He does need to work on his off-speed stuff to handle lefties better, but I think he could be very good out of that bullpen.

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