CLEVELAND -- Justin Masterson is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list in order to make his next start for the Indians on Friday. As it happens, that outing falls one day after Thursday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline.
As the Deadline nears, Masterson -- eligible for free agency this coming offseason -- has had his name continue to come up in various rumors and reports. Asked about that fact on Tuesday afternoon, the pitcher let out a laugh.
"It's just default," Masterson said. "Anyone who's going to be a free agent, I imagine their name is thrown in there somehow, some way. That's kind of the way it always is, so ... it kind of takes away to think about it too much. They only talk about you because they have to. It'd be wrong if they didn't."
Masterson, who is making roughly $9.8 million this season, has gone 4-6 with a 5.51 ERA in 19 starts this season, and he is currently on the 15-day disabled list with a right knee issue. That has not stopped opposing clubs from inquiring about the availability of the right-hander, who won 14 games, logged 193 innings and made an All-Star team in 2013.
Prior to landing on the DL, the 29-year-old Masterson allowed 13 runs on 20 hits with 10 walks in nine innings combined across his past three starts (the last coming on July 7). In his most recent Minor League rehab start for Triple-A Columbus on Friday, Masterson gave up five runs, walked six and logged 108 pitches in 6 2/3 innings.
Masterson did not feel he needed another rehab outing, and Cleveland manager Terry Francona noted that the team felt starting him on Friday against the Rangers presented a better matchup than against the lefty-heavy Mariners on Thursday.
"In my mind, I didn't really think [I needed another rehab start]," Masterson said. "I felt like what we've got, what we're going to do, it's not necessarily going to change in the next one. So, let's make or break it up here in The Show. I'll come help out the boys."
Masterson added that he does not feel the Indians need to necessarily make any additions prior to Thursday's Trade Deadline.
"We like what we have," Masterson said. "If I can come back and be three-quarters of what I was last year, or a lot better than where we were before, that can almost be like a free agent coming in, because I wasn't helping out much before, and I have a chance to help out now."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.