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Sox farm director Hazen: ‘Clay Buchholz wants to pitch for the Boston Red Sox’

06.15.09 at 3:19 pm ET
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Red Sox farm director Mike Hazen addressed Clay Buchholz’ admission that he is frustrated about being stuck in the minors despite a performance that suggests that the pitcher is major-league ready. Hazen said that the pitcher was entitled to feel as if he is ready to graduate from the minors, and that in some respects, it is encouraging to hear Buchholz suggest as much, particularly given how his confidence sank last season.

“There should be an expectation of the player to feel like he’s ready to go to the big leagues…It’s a positive thing when somebody feels like they’ve put a lot of hard work in and they’re ready to make that leap,” said Hazen. “I think we’re reading into it more that he has that confidence, that swagger, to seize the opportunity when it comes. Ultimately, he’s just got to go out and continue to perform every five days. He’s held up his end of the bargain. He’s worked hard. We’ve seen nothing affect his five-day routine outside the white lines.”

Hazen applauded Buchholz’ professionalism throughout 2009. In a season in which he is caught in an organization that has tremendous pitching depth that can lead to even an elite pitching prospect remain in the minors, the pitcher has continued to do everything in his power to prepare between starts and to perform when it is his turn on the mound.

“He’s handled every situation that’s been thrown at him like a pro,” said Hazen. “He’s worked his butt off down in Triple-A. Those things are facts. And his performance has been unbelievable. He has taken care of every ounce of what he can. He needs to continue to do it. We’re proud of him.”

Buchholz, of course, is not the first player to be a victim of minor-league options. Sometimes, players who are major-league ready must simply endure a prolonged apprenticeship in the minors while they wait for an opening, simply because they have options remaining. (For the record, the Sox can option Buchholz throughout both this season and next before they would have to subject him to waivers while doing so.) In 2005, Kevin Youkilis was an example of just such a roster victim when he shuttled between Pawtucket and Boston.

While Buchholz is clearly chomping at the bit to reach the majors, Hazen suggested that the pitcher remains driven to do so in Boston, while suggesting that the right-hander will eventually do just that.

“I believe wholeheartedly that Clay Buchholz wants to pitch for the Boston Red Sox,” said Hazen. “I believe wholeheartedly that both (Buchholz and Michael Bowden) want to be Boston Red Sox and that both of them will be, and that they’ll help us win another World Series. It’s just a matter of the timing of the situation.”

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden, mike hazen,
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