Masterson steps up by starting on short rest

Masterson steps up by starting on short rest

BALTIMORE -- When the Indians used Josh Tomlin for three innings of their 11-10, 13-inning win against the Tigers on Wednesday, it meant they would need a replacement starter for Thursday. Justin Masterson was scheduled for Friday, but knew he could be ready a day early.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona and his staff were trying to figure out what to do not only for Thursday, but the entire weekend against the Orioles, when Masterson came to him and offered to go on short rest.

"That's not surprising," Francona said. "He actually did it the day before."

When the bullpen got thin Wednesday, Masterson was one of the pitchers who offered to come in if the game continued deeper into extra innings, but Francona immediately shot that down. A day later, though, Masterson had that extra bit of rest and the Tribe had the luxury to turn to its ace to open up a four-game series against the Orioles.

The Indians' other option would have been to use a call-up -- an option it will turn to when T.J. House starts on Friday. With House's addition and Masterson's willingness to start on Thursday, Cleveland at least knows how its rotation will shake out for the next few days.

"We were kind of going step by step, not just to know how to attack [Thursday's] game," Francona said, "but how to move forward the next couple days."

David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.