Justin Masterson Not Letting Uncertainty Spoil New Chance With Red Sox

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It could be one start. It could be a whole bunch of starts. Justin Masterson doesn?t quite know.

Masterson isn?t focused on life in the Boston Red Sox?s rotation — or out of it — beyond Sunday?s start against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. The right-hander, who will start in place of recently demoted Joe Kelly, just wants to make the most of his second chance this season.

“Who knows? We just go and try to make the most of wherever we’re at,? Masterson told the Providence Journal before Saturday?s game against the Rays. ?We’re blessed to be where we’re at. You take it and you run with it.

“(Sunday) I start. Lord willing, I do great things, and whatever decision they have to make next, whether I start again, hey, we’re just here, doing whatever I can to help us win.”

The Red Sox recently activated Masterson from the 15-day disabled list. He initially was expected to be used out of the bullpen, but Kelly?s continued struggles led to a demotion to Triple-A Pawtucket, giving Masterson an opportunity to slide back into the rotation — for one start, at least.

It remains to be seen whether the Red Sox will keep Masterson in the rotation beyond Sunday?s start or go forward with him as a reliever. After all, he posted a 6.37 ERA in seven starts before landing on the DL, so it?s possible his future role could hinge on how he performs in the Red Sox?s series finale against the Rays. Prospect Brian Johnson is waiting in the wings at Pawtucket.

?I don?t really like seeing Joe have to vacate for me to be there. But since I am here and I don?t make those decisions, I have to take advantage of what I?ve got,? Masterson told The Boston Globe on Saturday. ?I?m excited.?

Masterson said before being named Kelly?s replacement — permanent or temporary — that he preferred to start. While he has bullpen experience, the 30-year-old has spent most of his career as a starter, even earning an All-Star selection in 2013. He?d like to show he still can get the job done.

?This is where we?re at. This is what I want to do,? Masterson told The Globe. ?I can help out, be strong. I don?t want to not do well. I need to go out there and do my thing and hopefully it works out well for the rest of the season.?

The rest of the season starts Sunday.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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