Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz says Opening Day nod 'a big, big honor'

Mike Petraglia
March 29, 2015 - 10:43 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Clay Buchholz got the message loud and clear. This is his time, his year, to step up and shine as the time-vested leader of the Red Sox rotation. The Red Sox rewarded him for his diligence this spring with the nod as the club's Opening Day starter on April 6 in Philly. "Obviously it's a big, big honor," Buchholz said before Sunday's game at JetBlue Park. "It's another game. I have to prepare just as I would for any other start. I think it gets a lot of publicity and lot of attention on it just for it being Opening Day. I'm willing to try and take it as normal as possible and try to cherish the moment because there aren't many people that get to be a part of that or actually be an Opening Day starter, especially for an organization like Boston. Yeah, I'm happy about it." While the official announcement was made by manager John Farrell Sunday morning in the third base dugout, the message that the organization expected him to step forward was made clear to the 30-year right-hander much earlier. "It's something that you can use to your advantage for sure, knowing that there were a lot of changes done and made to this team in the offseason. Knowing what they did with the offense this offseason, we're in a better place right now on paper to get the season going and to really feel confident about what this team can do. I think everybody is going to be excited once we leave out of here and once we get to Philly, regardless of how cold it is. A change might be good for a couple of guys. It's an honor. I think everybody here is ready to go." "We have meetings once we get here with Ben and Juan and John. We sit down and sort of go over what they expect and the outlook on everything coming into camp. And that was one of the messages Ben gave to me." The Red Sox have placed a great deal of trust in Buchholz, mainly because they feel he has matured. Buchholz showed off his maturity and perspective Sunday. "I've been here for a little bit," Buchholz said. "I've had some ups and downs, both on the extreme side. I feel like I've matured a lot as person and baseball player. I think it's just knowing that nobody is going to be perfect but if you practice to be perfect, I think the direction it's going to go is a lot less [of a problem] than if you don't practice that way, and that's one of the things I've tried to instill in myself, try to do everything hard, work hard and be prepared. When adversity is presented to you, I think you really know how to respond to that in a different way, going through it before and then having a lot of success. I've been on both sides of the fence. It wasn't always fun but I think it's put me in a pretty good spot."