The baseball season stops for no player. It doesn't recognize injury family emergency or illness. Staying true to the schedule is the only thing that matters.

On Thursday Justin Masterson rejoined the race to Sept. 29 the end of the regular season. Masterson the Indians' No.1 starter played catch at 90 feet at U.S. Cellular Field. He'll try it again Friday.

"I still don't know what the exact timetable is" said Masterson "but we're moving in the right direction. We've got a baseball in our hand."

Until Thursday Masterson wasn't allowed to throw after straining his left oblique muscle in a start against Baltimore on Sept. 2.

"I felt fine" said Masterson after his long-toss session. "I'll do it again Friday and see how the body feels."

Masterson leads the Indians in victories starts innings pitched and strikeouts. They opened a four-game series against Chicago on Thursday night 1 1/2 games out of the second wild card spot with 17 games to play. It is hard to see them forcing at least a one-game playoff without Masterson on the mound.