CLEVELAND – Justin Masterson hopes his season isn’t over, though the Indians’ ace realizes the possibility exists.

Masterson will miss at least one start because of a strained left oblique, another blow to a team struggling to stay in playoff contention. The right-hander was pulled from Monday’s game against Baltimore in the second inning because of soreness in his left side and an MRI on Tuesday revealed the injury.

Cleveland Manager Terry Francona said Masterson won’t resume baseball activities until he’s pain-free. An oblique injury takes some players four to six weeks to recover from, which would be too late for Masterson to return.

Francona doesn’t know if his No. 1 starter will take the mound again in 2013.

“He’ll definitely miss a start,” Francona said. “After that, you just don’t know. “

Closer Chris Perez pleaded no contest and was convicted of misdemeanor drug abuse for marijuana shipped to his home in the family dog’s name.

Perez withdrew his not guilty plea in Rocky River Municipal Court outside Cleveland, and was found guilty and fined $250. He also was placed on probation for one year and was ordered to speak to youngsters about drugs.


ORIOLES: Second baseman Ryan Flaherty of Portland was recalled from Class A Frederick.


DODGERS: Outfielder Yasiel Puig was out of the starting lineup a day after he aggravated a right knee strain.

Puig was slated to take batting practice before Tuesday night’s game at Colorado, but Manager Don Mattingly said Puig probably wouldn’t play against the Rockies.


ASTROS-BRAVES: Houston acquired catcher Matt Pagnozzi from Atlanta for cash considerations, a day after All-Star catcher Jason Castro sprained his right knee.


PADRES: San Diego signed outfielder Will Venable to an $8.5 million, two-year contract extension.


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