BOSTON -- Red Sox All-Star starter Clay Buchholz will continue a throwing program after receiving a second opinion from noted orthopedist James Andrews on Monday.
Andrews confirmed the original diagnosis of inflammation in Buchholz’s collarbone area, and after weeks of uncertainty over what was causing the discomfort, the right-hander can press forward with the knowledge that there is no risk of greater damage.
“I think he’s got more of an understanding of what he’s experienced in the progression and the throwing he’s done to date since being put on the DL,” manager John Farrell said. “I think that assurance of [knowing] the discomfort he’s feeling is not injury related -- it’s more about getting back into game shape -- I would think there would be more of a readiness on his part to push through that.”
Buchholz has not pitched since June 8. He missed a turn in the rotation near the end of May, but returned to win two straight starts before being shelved. The club initially waited to place him on the disabled list before finally electing to do so on June 18, and repeated attempts to increase the intensity of the rehab have met roadblocks. The most recent one came on the club’s West Coast trip, when Buchholz had to cut short a bullpen session in Oakland after experiencing more pain.
If and when that pain resurfaces, Buchholz can treat it and continue on, rather than take more time off and hope the pain subsides, Farrell said.
“Most importantly, Clay comes back with a little bit more peace of mind and he’ll continue on the throwing program with what’s already been put in place,” Farrell said. “Coming off a good day of throwing yesterday out to 100 feet with greater intensity. He’s traveling back here tonight so back at the park tomorrow.
“Dr. Andrews relayed to him he’s going to feel, at times, some stiffness or discomfort just by virtue of getting back in pitching shape. [Andrews] felt as [Buchholz] ramps back up, he’s going to experience some of those but it’s not, the root of it, is not because of an injury. It’s more of just reconditioning and getting the throwing arm back in shape.”
Farrell could not offer any sort of timetable for Buchholz’s return. The righty will continue with long toss, moving out to 120 feet, before getting back on the mound for what should amount to three bullpen sessions. Provided those go well, Buchholz is expected to take part in a simulated game, then head to the minors for at least one rehab start.
Given the days off between each of those stages, it figures to be well into August before Buchholz will be able to return to the major-league roster.
The 28-year-old was on an absolute roll before the physical issue popped up. He is 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA while limiting opponents to a .195 average.