Justin Masterson injury: Indians RHP may return before end of season

Lisa Blumenfeld

The Indians are still holding out hope for a Masterson return despite an oblique injury.

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Justin Masterson may return to the starting rotation before the end of the season, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Masterson suffered an oblique strain in the second inning of Monday's game against the Baltimore Orioles. The injury will cause Masterson to skip at least one start, according to Nick Camino of WTAM.

The Indians are still hopeful that Masterson will return in 2013. If Masterson is not showing symptoms of his injury over the next few days, he could return to the rotation, according to Rosenthal. If the injury continues to bother the right-hander, he will likely miss the remainder of the year.

Losing Masterson over the final month would be a big blow to Cleveland's playoff chances. He has gone 14-10 in 29 starts this season, posting a 3.52 ERA over 189 1/3 innings.

The Indians enter Friday with a 74-65 record, 6 1/2 games behind the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central and 3 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second AL Wild Card spot.

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