Clay Buchholz takes stock of injury, understands disabled list stint is best for team

May 28, 2014 - 7:58 pm
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For Clay Buchholz, a trip to the minor leagues simply was not going to help him. Buchholz, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left hyperextended knee prior to Wednesday night's contest against the Braves, was amidst one of the weakest stretches in his career, posting a 7.40 ERA with opponents hitting .340/.429/.509 in the month of May. Before Buchholz's injury, some suggested that the Red Sox could send down the righty to the minors to work his way through his struggles and build up confidence. The 29-year-old feels that a trip down to Triple-A Pawtucket or Double-A Portland would simply not build his confidence, which is currently not at its highest point. "I don't know how much I gain from pitching at the minor league level just from the simple fact that I've been there and done that and I'm confident in Triple-A and Double-A," Buchholz said. "It's a matter of getting big league hitters out and that's sort of where I'm at right now and I'm looking at as much video for whatever I have to do to refine delivery and see if I can have a couple of checkpoints throughout and get headed in the right direction." The Red Sox determined that Buchholz needed to be placed on the disabled list after the righty went through a bullpen session prior to Wednesday night's contest. After throwing off of a mound, Buchholz simply did not feel right. "When he got into the bullpen, probably the 18- or 20-pitch mark, there was some feeling of some instability," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I can't say it's structural, but when he tried to get increased intensity and get some finish to pitches, there was that sensation that was being felt, and we shut him down at that time. We weren't going to put him at risk if he felt anything coming out of that situation the other. That's where he felt it, that instability trying to get through some pitches." "Just felt a little bit in the knee today in the bullpen," Buchholz said. "That's the reason I threw a bullpen today instead of tomorrow so the organization felt like it would be best to do a DL stint and get an added arm in the bullpen for the duration that I'm out and obviously for me to refine what I need to refine." Buchholz and the Red Sox have not yet outlined a plan for the righty in his road to recovery. "I'm probably going to take a couple of days off, doing nothing, just to let everything speed the recovery a little bit," Buchholz said. "Then I'm sure I'll be getting in some bullpens here in four or five days or so." While Buchholz missed a significant portion of the 2013 season due to a neck strain, he believes the circumstances for his latest injury are different because his most valuable asset -- his arm -- remains healthy. "It's not an injury to my arm like it was last year," Buchholz said. "That's, first and foremost, is health of that area of my body and the ball is coming out of my hand fine. It's just a matter of getting that little fire that I had last year as far as throwing pitches in the zone and pitching to contact instead of pitching to swings and misses, and like I said, it's hard to do whenever you miss with the pitch. It seems as if every time you miss, it gets hit hard so I gotta get back to the basics and go from top-to-bottom with it." Buchholz spoke on Wednesday with former major league pitcher Bob Tewksbury, who is the Major League Baseball Players Association Director of Player Development and the former Red Sox sports psychology coach. Buchholz has talked to Tewksbury in the past about getting through mental struggles on the mound. "[Tewksbury]'s a good asset to anybody now in baseball. Over the last couple of years, it was to our club and he's been through a lot. Anyone that can pitch as long as he can in the big leagues at 85 miles per hour, has to have a good mental side of the game. He's a good guy to pick at and just ask him through the ups and downs that he went through how he prepared and how he got through it and he obviously got through." Buchholz understands that, considering his current physical state, it was best for the team to go on the disabled list. Still, he's not happy about the setback. "I'm never really OK with going on the DL, but there are things that you gotta take, some good with the bad sometimes," Buchholz said. "Obviously, the last couple of times out I wasn't helping the team all that much so this whole group of guys, including myself, we want to win and whenever you can plug a whole for however long it is and get some better work out of somebody else. That's the case today."

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