<
>

Justin Masterson eyes extension

Justin Masterson is working on an off-speed pitch -- and a new contract. He avoided arbitration by signing a $9.7 million contract with the Cleveland Indians but is still negotiating with the team to extend his tenure beyond this season.

"I will probably still be here for another couple years," he said Thursday as the Indians beat the Cincinnati Reds 12-3 on Thursday. "You hire people to take care of that, so you can just pitch. There is nothing monumental happening right now. If something gets done, it will be before the season begins."

Masterson struck out two and gave up a hit while pitching a scoreless inning Thursday. He will be eligible for free agency after this season.

His contract for 2014 is $162,500 less than the midpoint of the $11.8 million he had asked for and the $8.05 million Cleveland had offered when players and teams swapped proposed arbitration salaries last month. Masterson's request was the highest among players who exchanged figures.

Masterson, a 28-year-old right-hander, led the Indians in wins last year, when he went 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA. He can earn additional award bonuses as part of the 2014 deal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.