TORONTO -- Clay Buchholz was a hot topic of conversation here Thursday. Oh, and he also was named American League Pitcher of the Month for April.
The Red Sox right-hander, who has won his first six starts, allowing two runs or fewer in all of them to post a 1.01 ERA, won the award for the second time in his career. He also won in August 2010, when he went 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA, but was at a loss when teammates asked him what the winner receives as a prize.
Turns out it is a trophy, “suitably engraved,’’ according to the MLB press release announcing the honor. Buchholz trusts they’ll spell his name right, though that hasn’t always been the case when he’s gotten an award.
“I've got one trophy with two c’s and one h,’’ said Buchholz, who began May the same way he pitched in April, shutting out the Blue Jays on two hits over seven innings.
The difference being, that in April, no one had accused him of throwing a spitball, an accusation lodged by former pitcher Jack Morris, now a Blue Jays broadcaster, and other members of the broadcast team. Buchholz denied he was doing anything but applying rosin to the ball, for a better grip.
Among qualifying starters in the A.L. (minimum 36.0 innings) in April, Buchholz finished tied for first in wins, was second in ERA, was fifth in opponent batting average (.192), was tied for seventh in strikeouts and was tied for eighth in innings pitched.
“Definitely an honor,’’ he said. “At the same time, it’s not just me. It’s both of the catchers (Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ross). It’s nice, it’s fun, when everything is going good. I’m just trying to stay on an even keel, take it for what it’s worth and keep preparing for each game.’’