- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Sidelined since early June by a strained bursa sac in his right shoulder, Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz said Thursday that he doesn't want anyone to think he's soft.
"People are saying I'm weak. I want to be out there. I was having the best year of my baseball career," he said.
Prior to his injury, which he said occurred during his last start on June 8 against the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park, Buchholz was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA.
Buchholz has not pitched since then, and has pitched only 11 2/3 innings since May 22. Initially, the pain was in his neck area, before spreading to his shoulder.
"It's close to that AC joint, so I can't say that they're not interrelated at some point," manager John Farrell had said on June 9 in reference to the portion of the collarbone that hindered Buchholz in May.
Buchholz admitted Thursday that without knowing exactly what he was dealing with when he first suffered the injury, he originally attempted to throw through the pain and discomfort, but that only made it worse. He visited on July 22 with Dr. James Andrews, who confirmed the diagnosis of bursitis, which is an inflammation of the bursa sac, in his shoulder.
Buchholz said he believes his current treatment is working well.
He's been throwing on flat ground; Thursday served as a recovery day, and he's scheduled to play long toss and throw again on flat ground Friday.
"Hopefully [Friday] I'll ramp up the intensity as far as the velocity on the throws and see how the body responds to that," Buchholz said. "If everything goes well there, that's when I can start getting off the mound."
Farrell said an "aggressive crow hop" will serve as a precursor for Buchholz to get on the mound.
"Overall it's been frustrating," Buchholz said. "I want to be out there pitching as much as anybody else does. Going through what I've gone through, feeling like the days I've felt good, as a whole, I think we tried to rush it a little too quick at some points. That was the reason why I was set back after that."
Buchholz has dealt with his share of injuries the past few seasons, including a back strain and shoulder weakness. His current injury is something Buchholz never has dealt with in his career.
"This is the first time I've had to deal with something like this, and not really having a feel for it and not knowing really how much time to take off and let all the inflammation get out of it," he said. "Whenever I've felt good, I wanted it to happen right then, and obviously the front office did, too."
His status and uncertainty was one of the reasons Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington traded for veteran starter Jake Peavy on Tuesday. Farrell announced Thursday that Peavy will make his Red Sox debut Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Fenway.
As frustrated as Buchholz is with his situation, the fact that Peavy is in the mix and the Red Sox entered Thursday's game in first place in the AL East make it a little easier to handle.
"Given the situation we're in right now and everybody's throwing the ball well, and getting Peavy as an addition, I think that sort of takes a little bit of stress off of everybody," Buchholz said. "It's been almost two months for me, so I don't think there's any reason to try to rush it now."
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