After acquiring him from Boston in the offseason for a minor leaguer, Clay Buchholz’s Philadelphia Phillies career might be over after just two short April starts.
In what was thought to be a forearm strain at first, Clay Buchholz’s injury proved more problematic after an MRI revealed a partial tear of the right flexor pronator mass. He sustained the injury last week in his second start with the Philadelphia Phillies in an extremely deficient performance against the Mets.
In that game, Buchholz didn’t get out of the third inning. Through 2.1 inning pitched, he surrendered eight hits, six earned runs, one home run and a walk. While he didn’t look good in his first start of the season against Cincinnati, the injury obviously played a part in his last start of the season. Through two starts this year, Buchholz was 0-1 with a 12.27 ERA. In 7.1 innings pitched, he allowed 16 hits, 10 earned runs and three walks. Was the injury the main reason for the lack of production?
"“Probably out for the season, obviously, with the surgery today.”"
A bigger downfall from this story is that a team like Philadelphia was relying on Buchholz to help lay a foundation before some of their younger pitchers could come up to the majors. A veteran presence at this point of his career, Buchholz was a very good starter throughout his time in Boston when he wasn’t injured.
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While he has never been a big innings-eater (he has never hit the 190-inning plateau any season of his career), bringing in someone who has won a World Series and been to All-Star Games was a big move for Philadelphia. With a young team, Philly was looking for him to be that veteran presence on and off the field.
With Buchholz in the final season of his contract (earning $13.5 million), he also had some extra incentive to prove himself to other teams that he can still be relied upon.
Unfortunately for both Buchholz and Philadelphia, it seems to be more of the same. Mackanin continued,
"“I don’t know for a fact whether he can come back at the end of the year but what did they say, four to six months or something? It’s too bad but fortunately we’ve got pretty good inventory at Triple-A.”"
While the Phillies have a nice amount of talented prospects in their minor league system (J.P. Crawford, Mickey Moniak and Franklyn Kilome to name a few), pitching always seems to be the problem for teams. You either have none, or don’t have enough of it.
We have seen the template the Braves are following. While their young guys aren’t ready yet, singing Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey, though a little pricey, was the smart thing to do. They’ll eat up innings and allow their younger guys to grow and take that next step next season.
Buchholz seemed to be a step in that direction for Philly, especially since their starting pitching isn’t their strong suit. While he’ll be out for roughly 4-6 months, per multiple reports, they’ll need to look for that production elsewhere in the organization.