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Masterson stays on schedule; Francona has lefty choices

By Sheldon Ocker Published: September 18, 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo.: Justin Masterson completed the long toss part of his throwing program today and will begin throwing bullpens this week.

“”He went out to 120 feet then threw 20-25 pitches – fastballs and sliders – on flat ground,’’ Francona said. “”As long as there are no repercussions, he’ll throw a bullpen Friday, which is really exciting.’’

Masterson has been down with a strained oblique since Sept. 2.

It’s unlikely that Masterson will get a start in the season’s final 10 games, but he might come out of the bullpen.

Jason Kubel hasn’t exactly been overused since coming to the Tribe Aug. 30. Then again, he has not delivered at the plate, batting .167 in 18 at-bats.

Tribe deep thinkers weren’t expecting him to suddenly explode with a barrage of doubles and home runs, but he gives Francona another left-handed option on the bench

So the manager has a choice between lefties Kubel and Jason Giambi.

“”It gives me a chance to pick my spots, when each of them fits,’’ Francona said.

Tonight, he picked neither, inasmuch starter Bruce Chen throws from the left side.

Going against the norm, however, Giambi is 6-for-16 (.375) against Chen with four home runs, and Kubel is 6-for-14 (.429) with one homer.

Of course, it matters how long ago those at-bats were taken.

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