Clay Buchholz faced hitters for the first time since going on the disabled list on June 16, throwing 25 warm-up pitches in the bullpen and then 32 pitches in a simulated inning against Red Sox hitters Jose Iglesias, Lars Anderson, Ryan Lavarnway and Joey Gathright. Buchholz said that he felt no discomfort in his back, something that he suggested offered promise as he tries to prepare himself to pitch in the postseason should the Red Sox make the playoffs.
The right-hander suggested that he was throwing at 85 to 90 percent intensity, holding back only because he didn't want to injure any teammates if he hit them with his fastball. He threw his complete repertoire of a fastball, curveball, changeup and cutter, and suggested that his arm reacted well to the full assortment of pitches.
"Location wasn’t what it should be, which is expected, but ball's coming out of my hand and no problem with the back. It feels good," said Buchholz. "[There was] no pain. Everything was fine. Trying to not compensate for anything and finish my delivery like I normally would."
Buchholz said that he hopes for another simulated game on Thursday or Friday (in New York) if there is no setback. He remained unsure about whether it was realistic that he might make an appearance in the final regular season series next week against the Orioles, but the 27-year-old noted that his focus is on being ready to pitch by the playoffs.
"That’s the team’s call if they want me to come back, get some innings in [against Baltimore]. Gotta see how this postseason run is going to be and go from there," said Buchholz. "[Pitching in the playoffs is] what I want to do. Today was a first step in that direction and everything felt good."
Buchholz, who is 6-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 14 starts this year, said that it has been frustrating to sit on the sidelines, especially while the team has struggled. But because he has thrown from flat ground over the course of his time on the DL, the pitcher suggested that he thinks there still might be time for him to come back and make an impact.
"I’ve been throwing pretty much the whole time, playing catch, not necessarily pitching. My arm doesn’t feel near as not ready as it does in the offseason going into spring training," said Buchholz. "Obviously, nobody wants to sit out two and a half months, three months. It’s been tough watching the guys go out there. Even when we’re playing good, I want to go out there. It’s tough right now. like I said, I’m trying to get to the point where I can come back and help this team win."
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