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Buchholz on rotation’s competition: ‘It’s awkward’

03.07.10 at 4:07 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz delivers a pitch in his two-inning stint against the Orioles, the first outing of spring training for the righty. (AP)

After his first spring training outing, Sunday in Sarasota against the Orioles, Clay Buchholz addressed the challenges that are going with vying for a spot in the Red Sox’ rotation, which would appear to have six pitchers going for five spots.

“It would be awkward for anybody,” he told reporters. “I guess there’s four guys, regardless what happens, that will be on the staff. The other two, three guys, yeah it’s awkward. Got to basically do what I did last spring, do what I did to finish the season last year, and I think everything will take care of itself… I can’t do anything about it regardless of what I think so I might as well not think about it, and put any added pressure, added stress.

“I’d rather win a spot than let it be given to me. It’s whatever. I knew regardless of how I pitch in spring training I have to do good, I have to show them during the season I can pitch under pressure in Boston, all that stuff. I’m going to be as relaxed as I can be.”

Buchholz ran into some trouble in his two-inning stint, giving up three runs on five hits, striking out one and walking two. The righty was, however, encouraged by the progress he has made throughout his time in spring training thus far.

“Whenever I needed to put a ball on the ground, I thought I did a good job, just a couple found holes, scored a couple more runs off of that,” he told reporters. “Things I’ve been working on the side, throwing bullpens, slowly coming together. Like I said, first outing of the spring, a little jumpy on a couple of pitches. Other than than that felt like I had good stuff, good movement on the two-seamer. The changeups, when I threw them right, were good. And I threw a couple of good curveballs. Just have to put it all together. It’s really early in the spring for me. I’ve got a couple more outings before we think it’s anything bad.”

Here are some more quotes from Buchholz following his outing:

“For most part I was down, the home run was up  and I think the single – second hit of second inning – was a little up. Felt good with most of location. That’s basically all I’ve been doing, putting it down in the zone and work both sides of the plate with it.”

“It’s any pitcher, it’s easier to work from down up, then it is up to down, especially with a fastball. Everything you throw comes off your fastball, so if your arm slot and release point is good with your fastball, it’s going to be good with your other pitches also. It’s the first pitch that you have to put your trust in and know where your throwing it and pick good locations to throw it.”

“I feel heavier. Not necessarily stronger. I feel better.”

“I’ve always set the bar high, regardless if it’s spring training or in season. I want to do good job every time I go out. I know you’re going to have rough days, sub-par days and really good days. Have to shift them, mix them in. not necessarily concerned with  the pressure right now, I want to go out there and do good, I don’t want to show them that I’m not trying. I’m going ot go out every inning and try to do the things I’ve been working on and dow well.”

“That first game, always good to go out there and get them out of the way regardless if it’s good or bad. I felt fine with it – the two walks, like I said, I didn’t care much for those things. Other than that, I felt good.’’

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