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Masterson throws bullpen before last start in Minors

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Masterson throws bullpen before last start in Minors play video for Masterson throws bullpen before last start in Minors

MINNEAPOLIS -- After pitching five innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Columbus on Sunday, Justin Masterson (right knee) wanted to rejoin the big league club.

He got his wish with a plane ticket to Minneapolis, but the short stay was simply to let him get a bullpen session in with pitching coach Mickey Callaway. Masterson will fly back to Columbus on Thursday and make one more start at the Triple-A level before the team decides he's ready for Major League hitters.

"It's an opportunity to ease all the kinks and get it out of there," Masterson said. "Going into the last start, it had been a week and a half or so since we'd faced hitters. What we really want to make sure is, when the game gets going and a guy or two gets on base -- OK, we can be consistent and we're not going to try to do too much."

Don't assume the 29-year-old righty is happy about making the extra Minor League start, though.

"I don't think any grown man wants to go on the DL," Masterson said. "As a competitor, I think any person needs to be talked into doing some things, whether they think it's good for them or not. But the idea is that when you are put there, you make good use of it. So it was needed in the end."

Manager Terry Francona said Masterson's bullpen session on Tuesday went well, and the righty was spotted kicking a soccer ball around the Target Field outfield during pregame.

"It's great for the rehab," Masterson said. "You've got to move around and make sure everything's OK."

Alex M. Smith is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @asmiff. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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