Justin Masterson gets the call for today’s series finale against the Angels, as pretty much every other available pitcher on the team is down and out with the flu, a stiff neck, a bum shoulder or despondence over the passing of John Ritter, even though it happened a few years ago.

“He’s one of the nicest kids you’ll ever meet,” manager Terry Francona said. “I think his future is very bright. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to glimpse some of that.”

The pitcher has a well-developed sinker, putting him in the mold of Derek Lowe. He’s continuing to work on his changeup and slider. Though he has started throughout his professional career, his future might be in the bullpen. Pitching coach John Farrell said in spring training that Masterson could have a chance to help the Sox out of the bullpen by midseason, but April was sooner than anyone anticipated for his major league debut.

Seeing a well-hyped Sox prospect take centerstage at Fenway makes for exciting TV. But, sadly, today’s game starts at 1:35pm, roughly about the time I’ll be nose-deep in the MacKenzie file, as my boss watches over me with a loaded shotgun. The unemployed, those who work nights, vagrants and transients, however, should most certainly tune in.

Meanwhile, to those Sox players who are currently battling the flu, understand that you can still make yourselves useful. You can start by hugging Gary Matthews.