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Indians notebook: Justin Masterson continues progress in return from strained oblique

CHICAGO: Indians starting pitcher Justin Masterson (strained oblique) continued his throwing program Sunday, making 25 throws from 90 feet. He will move up to 120 feet Monday in Kansas City.

While he is making satisfactory or better progress, it is not likely he will return to the rotation before the regular season ends.

“Ideally he would make one start,” pitching coach Mickey Callaway said, indicating that probably wouldn’t happen. “Maybe he could pitch out of the bullpen or make a short start of three or four innings.”

Callaway confirmed that sometime this week Masterson probably will begin throwing off a mound.

HOW FAST? — The radar gun that flashes readings on the scoreboard at Progressive Field appears to be 2 mph faster than guns at most other ballparks.

It has been commonplace over the years for the scoreboard radar setups at some ballparks to register higher velocities than others. But until this year, Progressive Field never seemed to be higher than the norm.

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland commented that pitches at Progressive Field registered a higher velocity than at other venues. But manager Terry Francona doesn’t think so.

“I think they’re all the same now,” he said. “But when a pitch is down in the zone, it will read a couple of miles an hour faster than a ball thrown up. I don’t know why.”

AS ADVERTISED — Jose Ramirez has not had much playing time, but when he has played he has filled in all the boxes.

The 20-year-old summoned this month from Double-A Akron has manufactured a run with his speed, made a throwing error on a play that couldn’t be made and smacked a long triple, all the while showing confidence and intensity.

“He has come as advertised,” Francona said. “He played a lot of winter ball last year, and when they get near the end, it’s pretty high intensity.”

Maybe that explains Ramirez’s poise.

When Francona wanted Ramirez to pinch hit in the Tribe’s 8-1 win Saturday, Asdrubal Cabrera, whom Ramirez would be replacing, had no objections.

“Cabby was the one who came up and said, ‘If you want to get the kid an at-bat, go ahead,’ ” Francona said.

— Sheldon Ocker


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