BOSTON -- Frustrated by his inability to return to the mound -- a frustration shared equally by the Red Sox -- pitcher Clay Buchholz will see orthopedist Dr. James Andrews on Monday in Pensacola, Fla., for a second opinion on his prolonged shoulder discomfort.
The hope, Red Sox manager John Farrell said, is that Buchholz will gain some “peace of mind” from his exam by Andrews and some assurance that it is safe for him to resume pitching.
Andrews has been in consultation with the Sox medical team and already has viewed MRI images of Buchholz’s shoulder, Farrell said.
“Just a chance to get in front of him, for Andrews to examine him physically rather than just dealing with MRI images,’’ Farrell said. “Until that exam takes place, that’s where things are.’’
Buchholz has not pitched since June 8 and has thrown just 11 2/3 innings since May 22. He appeared on the verge of returning to the rotation, with Farrell saying on the team’s recent West Coast trip that only some reconditioning remained before he'd be ready to go. The last steps were supposed to be a bullpen session, a simulated game and a rehab assignment that the Sox hoped would be brief.
Instead, Buchholz complained of soreness during a bullpen session Sunday in Oakland, bringing his throwing program to a halt. He underwent an exam Friday by Red Sox orthopedist Dr. Peter Asnis.
“In that exam Friday, test results for strength have all been consistent with what they’ve been,’’ Farrell said, “so that’s where I guess the puzzling aspect of this comes in. The strength is there, the range of motion is there, it’s just in that repetitive movement he’ll feel some restriction at some point to his throwing range of motion.’’
Farrell said Buchholz has not experienced any discomfort when throwing aggressively in long toss sessions on flat ground. It comes, according to Buchholz, only when he gets on the mound.
Buchholz has at various stages been diagnosed with irritation in his AC joint, a strained trapezius muscle in his neck, and shoulder bursitis. The neck issue could be the result of pain from the shoulder inflammation radiating into his neck area.
“I think given all that Clay has dealt with, the start-and-stop throwing process, the rehab process associated with the shoulder, neck, all that, as we’ve said many times, he’s extremely frustrated with it,’’ Farrell said. “It seemed like he’d turned the corner with it on the trip to Seattle and the throwing he was doing, but it hasn’t. To get some verification, clarification from Dr. Andrews to put his mind at ease is probably as important as anything he’s dealing with from a physical standpoint.’’