CLEVELAND - Indians All-Star Justin Masterson was forced to leave his start Monday in the second inning with rib soreness.
Masterson was pulled by manager Terry Francona after throwing just 25 pitches. The Indians said Masterson left because of "soreness in the left side of his rib cage." The team will likely provide a further medical update following the game.
Masterson first showed discomfort during an at-bat by Matt Wieters, leading off the second. Francona came out with a trainer to check on his big right-hander, who stayed in the game.
However, after giving up a single to Wieters, Masterson paused before making a second pitch to Nick Markakis and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera waved toward the dugout. Francona came out for the second time and replaced Masterson, who dejectedly walked off the field and threw a cup of water in the dugout before heading to the clubhouse.
The Indians can't afford to be without their ace. They entered the week just 3 1/2 games out in the AL wild-card chase, and have a favorable schedule in September when they play only two teams with winning records.
Masterson is 14-9 with a 3.49 ERA. He leads the Indians in wins, innings and is tied for the AL lead with three shutouts. He was named an All-Star for the first time this season.