FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) – Justin Masterson could start the season in the Boston Red Sox bullpen. He may be in the rotation.

Whatever his role is, Masterson is one valuable member of Boston’s pitching staff.

Masterson struck out three in three scoreless innings and the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bays Rays 8-2 on Sunday.

“I felt like I was pounding the strike zone, which in spring training that’s what you want to do, is make sure you’re pounding the zone,” he said. “I was happy, not satisfied. We’ve still got some things we can continue to get better at.”

Masterson, who allowed one hit and walked none, went 6-5 with a 3.16 ERA in 36 games last season, including nine starts. He has made three Grapefruit League appearances this spring, two as a starter.

“They wanted me coming out and really throw all my pitches, and I felt like I did that overall,” he said. “The first couple of changeups, I pushed them a little bit, kind of left them up and away. But after that I was pretty excited with what took place.”

Julio Lugo went 3-for-3 and drove in two runs for the Red Sox, improving his Grapefruit League average to .533 (8-for-15). Jonathan Papelbon struck out the side in a scoreless fourth, but allowed two hits.

Wade Davis was hit hard in 2 2-3 innings for the Rays, allowing six runs and eight hits. Adam Kennedy went 1-for-3 with an RBI.

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein declined comment after the game when asked about a Yahoo Sports report that left-hander Jon Lester had agreed to a $30 million, five-year extension.

Lester is scheduled to pitch against the Pirates in Bradenton on Monday.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.