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GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Manager Terry Francona watched Justin Masterson pitch two scoreless innings Monday. He must have liked what he saw, because Tuesday he named him Opening Day starter for the Indians’ April 2 game against Toronto.
“I felt tremendous on Monday when I pitched and today this feels good,” Masterson said. “I was happy. I was hoping for it. Tito and I talked through the off-season about some things and I knew this might be a possibility. It turns out it is.”
Asked last week about who would pitch the first game, Francona said he was in no hurry to make the announcement.
“I just wanted to let Masty get his legs under him,” Francona said on Tuesday. “We knew what we were going to do. I talked to [GM] Chris Antonetti and [pitching coach] Mickey Callaway and we decided to get it out of the way.
“I was excited to tell him. I didn't feel like holding it in.”
When asked if this meant that Ubaldo Jimenez would remain as the No.2 starter, Francona said, “Those things will fall into place. We want to hold off on that so we have something newsworthy in a few days.”
Masterson and Jimenez lost a combined 32 games last year. This will be Masterson’s second straight Opening Day start. Read more.
Butler homers as Royals beat Indians
Billy Butler homered and drove in three runs as Kansas City Royals beat Cleveland 4-1.
Both teams began the day unbeaten in exhibition play. The Royals improved to 4-0-1, Cleveland lost for the first time in six tries.
Wade Davis became the first rotation pitcher used this spring by Royals manager Ned Yost. Matt Carson hit his second home run for Cleveland.