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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Boston Red Sox plan to place right-hander Justin Masterson on the disabled list Thursday after he struggled with velocity in his last two starts.
Manager John Farrell made the announcement about Masterson's arm fatigue before Wednesday's series finale against the Oakland Athletics, a day after Masterson only threw one of 57 pitches that reached 90 mph. Masterson allowed six runs and six hits, failing to make it out of the third inning in a 9-2 loss.
"We're moving toward a likely DL for him. After he went through a full exam and workout this morning with the medical staff, there's not one specific area to the arm or shoulder that is a cause or reason why we're seeing reduced velocity and reduced action," Farrell said. "There's some fatigue that's involved. I think it's important that we allow this to calm down. ... By the time we open tomorrow night in Seattle that will all be resolved."
Masterson's fastball has averaged just under 89 mph this season, down more than 2 mph from September.
"I'm not real happy about it. I'm mad," said Masterson, who acknowledges his arm could be tired. "Like I said yesterday, I hold true just to the fact I thought we could make the adjustment and really be fine. It didn't happen. It comes at a time when as a team we're starting to pick it up but it's one of those if we're doing great I probably get a little more leeway, if we're not, yeah, the last two starts have been different than the first five. I can't deny that fact. As I told him, I'm not real happy about the decision."
Masterson (2-2) is 0-2 over his last two starts and winless in four outings since winning his first two decisions to begin the season. He has a 6.37 ERA in seven starts since joining Boston with a $9.5 million, one-year deal in December.
With Boston struggling in fourth place in the AL East, Farrell said there's no time for Masterson to get back to full speed in the rotation.
"We can't afford for that next test to be in a regular game or a regular scheduled game for us," he said. "If this were one start it might be a different story, but the fact this has been two consecutive starts, we've got to adjust some things."
Right-hander Steven Wright is expected to start Sunday at Seattle in Masterson's spot. Wright pitched the final 5 2-3 innings Tuesday night and his 110 pitches are the most by a reliever in baseball this year. The pitches are also the highest by a reliever since Jerome Williams threw 111 for the Angels at Texas on May 11, 2012.
Farrell met with Masterson on Wednesday and the pitcher "accepted it begrudgingly." The Red Sox want him back in the rotation once he's right and pitching more like he was early in the year.
"The leash right now is a little bit shorter," Masterson said. "We're going to make the best of it. I don't have to like it."