Sidelined since early June due to an injury to his trapezius muscle, Clay Buchholz threw off a mound for the first time on Tuesday but his bullpen session was cut short after he continued to feel some discomfort. He managed to throw under 20 pitches before shutting things down. He’s expected to undergo an MRI exam sometime Wednesday to determine the extent of the injury.
Buchholz had apparently thrown from flat ground in recent days without any problems. It was only once he took the mound that the discomfort popped up, according to details passed on by Kyle Brasseur of ESPNBoston.com. To his credit, Buchholz at least sounds optimistic:
I felt better this time. It’s just still there. We’ll see what the staff wants me to do, if there’s any way to treat it differently. ….. It’s not anything that I couldn’t go out and pitch with, but it’s sort of the same thing I felt the first time I missed a start. I felt fine against the Yankees and then it had to be that throw I made in an awkward position. That’s sort of where I’m at right now.
Experiencing one of the best starts to his career, Buchholz had made 12 starts on the year before landing on the DL. He’d gone 9-0 in that stretch, posting a 1.71 ERA and 1.020 WHIP over 84.1 IP. His ERA, H/9 (6.1), and HR/9 (0.2) still lead the American League despite missing the past three weeks.
Boston still possesses the best record in the American League but could certainly benefit from getting Buchholz back into the rotation sooner rather than later. He was eligible to be activated off the DL on Tuesday but the team will instead wait for further information. Results of the MRI exam will ultimately dictate when he’ll return, but there appears to be optimism that he’ll be back on the mound again before the All Star Break in mid-July.