DETROIT — The Red Sox made what proved to be a costly mistake when they signed Justin Masterson to a one-year, $9.5 million contract in December. They finally admitted it on Sunday when the righthander was designated for assignment after a 7-2 victory against the Detroit Tigers.
Masterson, 30, was 4-2 with a 5.61 earned run average in 18 games, nine of them starts. He lost his spot in the rotation in May and was inconsistent pitching in relief.
Now the Red Sox can take a better look at some other relievers. Jonathan Aro, Ryan Cook, Tommy Layne, and Noe Ramirez are among the possibilities in Triple A, although Cook is not eligible until later in the week.
Masterson took the news well.
“It really didn’t work out as well as we would have hoped this year,” he said. “I’m grateful for it. It’s that time. It’s a time when they’re bringing up some arms. They want to see some guys pitch some innings. So I’m going home for a little bit.”
The Sox have 10 days to trade, release, or pass Masterson through waivers. With $2.93 million remaining on his contract, it is unlikely Masterson would be claimed.
“We’ll see what happens,” said Masterson, who hopes to continue his career.
An All-Star in 2013 with Cleveland, Masterson has a 5.79 ERA since in 46 games for the Indians, Cardinals, and Red Sox. He pitched one inning on Sunday and allowed a long home run by Jefry Marte in the seventh inning.
“It was consistent strike throwing,” manager John Farrell said. “When you boil it down, he flashed some better arm strength at various points of time this season. But the overall consistency just wasn’t there.”
Uehara sent home
Koji Uehara, who was struck on the right wrist by a line drive on Friday night, returned to Boston for a full examination by team doctors.
X-rays were negative Friday night, but the closer still isn’t ready to pitch. He had a CT scan in Detroit on Sunday.
“Even though the swelling is down, he felt still some soreness there,” Farrell said. “This isn’t what we had hoped to hear today. There have been some persisting symptoms even after the reduction in swelling. We’ve got to check him thoroughly.”
Farrell used burly righthander Jean Machi to pitch the ninth inning on Sunday in a non-save situation. Machi has shown a good fastball — he hit 94 miles per hour on Sunday — in four games with the Sox and could fill in for Uehara.
Injured list growing
The Red Sox did not have left fielder Hanley Ramirez and third baseman Pablo Sandoval available Sunday.
Ramirez missed his second straight game with a bruised left foot, the result of a foul ball on Friday. Sandoval is out with a sprained left thumb. With the Sox off Monday, the hope is both would be able to play Tuesday in Miami.
“It’s kind of caught up to both guys,” Farrell said.
Clay Buchholz has an appointment with Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, Fla., on Wednesday. The righthander has not pitched since July 10 because of a strained flexor muscle in his elbow.
With Andrews’s approval, Buchholz could soon start a throwing program. He is on the 60-day disabled list and may not return until September.
“He feels good physically. The strengthening and all the exercise he’s going through have been as anticipated,” Farrell said. “This is more clearance.”
Dustin Pedroia did not accompany the team to Detroit and will not be in Miami. The second baseman has been getting treatment on his strained right hamstring at Fenway Park, according to Farrell.
Given the fact that Pedroia has yet to start on-field workouts and will need a minor league rehabilitation assignment, it’s going to be a while before he is back in the lineup.
Betts hits rehab HR
Mookie Betts was 2 for 4 with a home run in a one-game rehabilitation assignment with Double A Portland at Akron. Betts has been on the disabled since July 29 with a concussion.
Farrell said Betts had been fully cleared and will be activated Tuesday.
If you are wondering how one gets from Detroit to Akron, the Red Sox arranged a car service for Betts. It took about three hours.
They meet again
Dennis Eckersley is calling the games with Don Orsillo for NESN on this road trip as Jerry Remy takes a vacation. This series proved to be serendipitous.
Kirk Gibson broadcasts games for Fox Sports Detroit and was at Comerica Park on Saturday. He sought out Eckersley and the two spoke for the first time in years.
The two are linked in baseball history. In Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, an injured Gibson pinch hit for the Los Angeles Dodgers and hit a walkoff two-run homer off Eckersley, then the fearsome closer of the Oakland Athletics.
Gibson did not have another at-bat in the Series, which the Dodgers won in five games.
“I used to hate that [guy],” Eckersley joked. “But we had a good talk. There’s a lot of mutual respect. That was a long time ago.”
Eckersley, now 60, went on to help Oakland win the 1989 Series and was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2004. Gibson played 17 years and managed the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2010-14.
“Funny how I decided to come on this trip and I ran into him,” Eckersley said. “I was glad I did.”
The Sox finished 4-2 against Detroit this season . . . The Tigers are 1-9 in the 10 games Justin Verlander has started this year and he is 1-5. Sunday was the sixth time Verlander has allowed two or fewer earned runs in a start. He is 1-1 in those games . . . The Red Sox purchased the contract of Triple A infielder Carlos Rivero and assigned him to Pawtucket. Rivero played four games for the Red Sox last year.