Clay Buchholz threw a 50-pitch simulated game in the bullpen Wednesday, and the Boston Red Sox ace feels no pain. Buchholz has not played since early June with neck and shoulder discomfort, but, for the first time since then, has a real chance at returning to the field soon. He will throw another bullpen session on Saturday, and assuming all goes well, will be set to start a Minor League rehab assignment.
This was certainly the best bullpen work Buchholz has had since initially going on the DL saying, “today felt like a good time for me to test it, and yeah, the last 30 pitches I didn’t feel anything, I think that was the best thing I could take out of it.”
After his first 12 starts, Buchholz was an early Cy Young Award candidate, going 9-0 with an ERA of 1.71, but now the 28 year old right handed pitcher is merely a candidate to help the Red Sox staff to make a World Series run.
The Red Sox rotation has been inconsistent at best this season outside of Buchholz, with John Lackey and Felix Dubront the only two regular starters with ERA’s under four this season.
Looking at the other teams in the American League playoff race, it is clear the Red Sox need Buchholz to come back, come back strong, and come back to fill the ace role. Going up against potential ace opponents like Max Scherzer, David Price or Yu Darvish just emphasizes the need for a guy like Buchholz to stand take to the mound for the Red Sox.