Clay Buchholz has esophagitis

Updated: June 27, 2012, 3:18 AM ET
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz was hospitalized with what the club announced Tuesday night was esophagitis, an inflammation that damages tissues of the esophagus, the muscular tube that delivers food from your mouth to your stomach.

According to a message on Twitter late Tuesday night from his wife, Lindsay Clubine, Buchholz is being released from Massachusetts General Hospital, where he has been undergoing treatment.

"Clay finally gets to come home!" Clubine tweeted at around 11:30 Tuesday night. "Stomach issues are under control & he feels good. Now we just have to fatten him up! Thanks for the prayers!"

According to a major league source, the club is concerned about a tear "near the esophagus," and the possibility of infection. Buchholz is not expected back until after the All-Star break, the source said.

"Clay Buchholz has esophagitis, which led to an erosion of the esophagus and an associated gastrointestinal bleed,'' the team said in a brief statement. "He has been evaluated and observed at Mass. General Hospital. Clay is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery."

Esophagitis often causes difficulty swallowing and chest pain. Causes of esophagitis include stomach acids backing up into the esophagus, infection, oral medications and allergies.

If left untreated, esophagitis can change the structure and function of the esophagus.

Buchholz has not pitched since June 19, when he went six innings in Miami and was credited with the win, his fourth in a row, in a 7-5 Red Sox victory. He had the best winning percentage among the regular Red Sox starters with an 8-2 record, an .800 percentage, despite a 5.53 earned run average. Two days after that start, the team said, he began experiencing symptoms, and subsequently was hospitalized, though it is not clear when over the weekend he was admitted.

If he is not back until after the All-Star break, he will miss at least five starts.

A handful of athletes in recent years have been diagnosed with the condition. Zach Putnam, a pitcher in the Colorado Rockies' system, was the Big Ten pitcher of the year for the University of Michigan in 2008. He missed five games and lost 20 pounds before his condition was diagnosed.

Tyson Chandler, then of basketball's Chicago Bulls, missed six games in 2003 with esophagitis, while former Orlando Magic guard Penny Hardaway missed four games in 1995.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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