BOSTON (CBS) — It says a lot about the greatness of the first two-plus months of Clay Buchholz’s season that he earned a spot on the AL All-Star team despite not pitching since June 8.
Yet if there was any hope that hanging around baseball’s best players this week would give Buchholz the itch to get back on the mound, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Buchholz spoke to reporters Monday, and he said inflammation in his neck continues to lead to soreness after throwing, so he isn’t rushing in any way to get back out onto the mound. He said even if he felt he was at 90 percent, he wouldn’t pitch.
“I don’t want to. If it was a do-or-die situation, then yeah, of course,” Buchholz said in New York, according to MassLive.com. “If it was September, we’re pushing, that’s what you pitch for is to pitch in those situations. Not everybody’s 100 percent doing that pitching through the whole year anyways. If it came up to that, then absolutely, but we’re not to that point yet.”
It’s true the Red Sox aren’t at that point yet, but there’s only so long the team can tread water without its ace before it starts to catch up to them. Only so many starts can be given to Allen Webster and Brandon Workman before losses start to come a bit more frequently, and with the AL East as tight as it is, the Red Sox need every win they can get.
But unless it’s a “do-or-die” situation in September, they’ll need to earn them without Buchholz, who is 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA. The fact that the team has gone 20-14 since Buchholz’s last start is making it easier for him to take more time to recover.
“It would be tougher if things weren’t going as we wanted and guys weren’t throwing the ball well. It would be tougher to sit back and watch, but everyone’s pitching well so that’s why I’m gonna make sure I’m 100 percent before I go back out there,” Buchholz said, according to The Boston Globe.
Buchholz missed the final three and a half months of the 2011 season with a back injury, and perhaps that history is what is leading to his being so cautious this time around.
“I finally sat down and we talked and I said, ‘Hey, let me tell you when I feel ready and then we can set something up,’” Buchholz said of his conversation with the team. “You don’t want to feel good, ramp it up, and then you have a setback.”