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Justin Masterson has been pitching (poorly) through a knee injury all season

Jun 27, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT

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Indians right-hander Justin Masterson was scratched from his scheduled Sunday start against the Mariners with knee soreness and later revealed to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he’s been dealing with the issue since the second start of the season.

Masterson tossed seven shutout innings on Opening Day to seemingly build off a very strong 2013 campaign, but since then–and apparently during the period his knee has been a problem–he’s posted a 5.44 ERA in 16 starts while walking 49 batters in 83 innings.

There have been some good starts sprinkled into that stretch, but Masterson has failed to make it past five innings nine times in 16 outings, which is very uncharacteristic. The ongoing knee injury may help explain why the Indians have been so hesitant to sign Masterson to a contract extension at what were reported to be very reasonable demands, and perhaps it’s also why Masterson’s demands have been so reasonable with free agency right around the corner.

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