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Masterson selected Indians' Clemente Award nominee

Fan voting for award begins Tuesday and runs through Oct. 6

CLEVELAND -- Justin Masterson has embraced the leadership role that goes along with being at the top of the Indians' rotation. The All-Star pitcher knows he can have a great impact on his team, both in the clubhouse and on the mound.

Masterson has strived to make an impact away from the ballpark, too.

On Monday, Masterson was named Cleveland's nominee for the 2013 Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.

"It's an honor to be nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award," Masterson said. "So many people have been nominated in the past [and] have done such great things. To whom much is given, much is required, and I try to live by that."

Masterson will be recognized in a pregame ceremony on Sept. 24 in Cleveland.

All 30 nominees have immersed themselves in the type of humanitarian and community efforts that distinguished the life of Clemente, a life that ended at age 38 on New Year's Eve 1972, when the plane he was using to deliver aid to Nicaraguan earthquake victims crashed.

Tuesday is Roberto Clemente Day throughout Major League Baseball, a day instituted to keep alive Clemente's spirit of giving. Voting runs from Tuesday through Oct. 6 at as fans help decide which of those 30 club winners will receive this prestigious recognition.

The nominees were chosen based on their dedication to giving back to the community, as well as their outstanding ability on the field.

In recent offseasons, Masterson has made trips to the Dominican Republic to help with the construction of a two-story building, a pavilion, a basketball court and a baseball field for youth in Moca, D.R. The son of a pastor, Masterson has continued to search for ways to expand his reach off the field, too.

In July, it was announced that Masterson and his wife, Meryl, have teamed with Bright Hope and Moody Radio Cleveland (103.3 FM), joining an initiative to help those living in the Nairobi, Kenya, slum of Mathare Valley.

"God gives us gifts and we are to use them for His purposes," Masterson said at the time. "I'm looking forward to contributing to what God is doing through Bright Hope."

Masterson and his wife led a "Feed Their Future" campaign, which is dedicated to helping the 1,400 students living in Mathare Valley and enrolled in one of four schools that Bright Hope supports. The program is aimed at raising funds to help feed and educate those students for one year. Money raised provides the children with two meals a day (six times per week), plus the chance to attend school by offering support for teachers' salaries, textbooks, teaching materials and uniforms.

Masterson, who became an All-Star for the first time this season, is also active off the field with Cleveland Indians Charities. Established in 1989, CIC's goal is to positively impact youth in Northeast Ohio through educational and recreational programs and initiatives.

Through CIC, Masterson has made visits to local schools to teach students the importance of a good education, and he serves as the team's spokesperson for its annual glove drive. Masterson has also participated as a speaker during the Indians' Faith Nights, during which he has shared testimonials with Indians fans. Masterson and his wife also volunteer and make donations at Laura's Home, which is a battered women's shelter in Cleveland.

"Justin embodies one of the Cleveland Indians' guiding commitments, to our community," said Rebecca Kodysh, Indians executive director of community impact. "We're proud of the work he does in our community and others, and of his recognition by Major League Baseball."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.

Cleveland Indians, Justin Masterson