Justin Masterson

Justin Masterson relieved to declare himself healthy after first spring outing

John Tomase
March 06, 2015 - 10:54 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Ask Justin Masterson if his arm ever felt right last year, and he shakes his head. "There was never really a point where everything was right," he said. "I was trying to tough guy through it, which probably isn't the smartest thing to do, but it's a great learning experience." Masterson dealt with an assortment of injuries last year to his knee, shoulder, and oblique. They combined to produce the worst season of his career (7-9, 5.88). They also made him an ideal bounce-back candidate for an organization that knew him well after drafting him in the second round of the 2006 draft. On Friday at JetBlue Park, Masterson made his spring debut against the Marlins and looked healthy at the very least, allowing just one unearned run on a hit and walk in two innings. He generally kept his sinker down and induced the ground ball outs that are his forte. "As we continue to progress, I'm really happy where it's at," Masterson said. "The arm's doing a really a great job. We're still a month away. There's still a lot of throwing to be done. Every single time is a checkpoint. You look at it. You're not really overly caring about results until we're a few games away from go time." This is a welcome change from last spring with the Indians, when Masterson already knew he didn't feel right. "There weren't really many times, there wasn't really any time, when it just felt great in an overall sense," Masterson said. "It kind of helps for this year to be open and honest, to be able to work through stuff." Masterson feels good about outing No. 1, although he didn't recognize the Prince song that accompanied his journey to the mound. "Just doing the routine, going through the routine of the starting process before the game, warming up, starting things, having your boys run out there with you, having some random music that I didn't pick," he said. "I had no clue what they were playing to really pump me up. It was fun to be out there. Those are the small victories that give you an extra mental edge."