Clay Buchholz says designation as No. 5 guy is no surprise

Rob Bradford
March 11, 2014 - 6:31 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. '€“ Clay Buchholz has no problem being the No. 5 guy. Barring injury, it appears as though the righty will be making his first start of the season April 5 at Fenway Park against the Brewers. That'€™s only after going through the first four starters in Sox'€™ rotation '€“ Jon Lester, John Lackey, Felix Doubront and Jake Peavy. '€œI'€™ve known that since I got here, what they wanted to do with me,'€ Buchholz said. "It's fine with me." The last time Buchholz was slotted in the fifth spot in the rotation to start the season was '€™10, when the Red Sox played five games (with No. 1 starter Josh Beckett making two starts) before the young righty got his turn. During that '€™10 stretch, Buchholz ended up facing a list of pitchers who were all perceived as top-to-middle of the rotation starters '€“ Gil Meche (KC), James Shields (Tampa Bay), C.J. Wilson (Texas), Shaun Marcum (Toronto), Joe Saunders (Angels), CC Sabathia (Yankees) and Max Scherzer (Tigers). The reason, of course, for Buchholz to not be pitching until the second game of the Sox'€™ series against the Brewers is to allow for added ramp-up time for the righty. Thus far, Buchholz hasn'€™t gone more than three innings, having faced the minimum nine batters in his latest outing, against the Pirates. '€œI think I started throwing about the same time as Lack, Peav. I know I'€™ve thrown more in the past, but I feel like this is better as far as my body, starting a little later and using spring training as spring training,'€ he said. '€œAs far as where I'€™m starting, I'€™ve known that.'€ Buchholz reports the conservative plan has worked to this point, while allowing what he believes is plenty of time to prepare for that first start. '€œIt'€™s different for me every year,'€ he said. '€œI just have to find a way to come in feeling good, feeling like I'€™m moving in the right direction and not necessarily have to be in midseason form like I have felt like I had to be in the past in spring training. It'€™s been a different go-around this time. '€œJust pitching in the game I threw the other day, there wasn'€™t any point and time I was overthrowing or trying to throw a ball as hard as I could. I was seeing results as I pitch. I know that when my arm strength gets a little bit better and I start humping on balls, I'€™m going to be 92-94 mph. And if the ball is moving like it has been at 89-91 mph, it'€™s going to be fun again. But there is no anxiety and I feel pretty comfortable.'€