The flu bug has wreaked havoc on the Red Sox clubhouse this week, necessitating some roster juggling that included a spot start for David Pauley and an emergency-catcher designation for Dustin Pedroia. Jason Varitek was back in the clubhouse tonight — negating any need to find catchers gear small enough to fit the Boston mighty mite — but now Daisuke Matsuzaka has taken ill. That makes for yet another temporary opening in the Red Sox rotation, and the beneficiary is expected to be Justin Masterson, a highly-regarded prospect who stands 6’ 6” and throws a worm-killing sinker.
A second-round pick in the 2006 draft, Masterson will reportedly make his big league debut on Thursday afternoon against the Angels at Fenway Park. A 23-year-old right-hander from Beaver Creek, Ohio, Masterson has made four starts this year with the Double A Portland Sea Dogs, allowing 14 hits and two earned runs in 19 innings. Kevin Goldstein calls Masterson’s sinker “arguably the best in all of the minor leagues.” The number 3 prospect in the Red Sox organization, Masterson features a three-quarters delivery and also throws a slider and changeup.