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Clay Buchholz on DL decision: ‘What’s three extra days to be healthy the rest of the season?’

06.19.13 at 1:30 am ET

Between games of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader, the Red Sox carefully monitored what was arguably their most important pitching session of the day. Starter Clay Buchholz, who has not pitched since experiencing discomfort in his trapezius muscle in a start on June 8, threw off a mound for the first time since the injury. Minutes later, in the first inning of the Sox’ nightcap against the Rays, the team announced that Buchholz would be going onto the DL due to a neck strain.

It seemed natural to conclude that the two events were related, that lingering discomfort during the mound session forced the Sox to delay Buchholz’s return to games. But, as it turns out, the exact opposite proved the case. Buchholz said that he emerged from the bullpen session pain-free and feeling confident in his imminent return, but that the decision was made to delay his comeback by a few days so that he could have the benefit of simulating an outing rather than just working off of a mound.

Given that the earliest that the Sox would consider starting him was Saturday (June 22), and that a trip to the DL (dated retroactively to June 9, the day after his last start) would be scheduled to conclude just two games and three days later (June 25), the decision was made to postpone his scheduled outing against the Tigers.

“Actually, today is the best I’ve felt out of any day that I’ve thrown. Just thinking about it, the DL is only three extra days [more] than me pitching Saturday. That would probably benefit me more than going out there Saturday, having only a couple days to ramp up for it,” Buchholz told WEEI.com. “[The extra time] allows me to ease back into it. If I want to do a sim game or some up-and-downs are involved, I have time to do that, rather than jumping into something full effort. … It was 85 percent effort while I was throwing and probably 75 percent off the mound. I didn’t feel anything doing that. It was definitely a positive step for me.”

Buchholz expressed his optimism that he would indeed be able to start on Tuesday.

“If nothing else happens between now and then, yeah,” he said. “The way I felt today, I’m pretty confident that I’ll be fully progressed by that time.”

Buchhols said that the additional time to deal what has been a frustrating, lingering issue could permit him peace of mind he does return to the Sox rotation.

“Just given the fact that I’ve had this sort of thing come up a couple of times and not really taken care of myself, what’s three extra days to be healthy the rest of the season rather than going out and pitching, risking further injury?” Buchholz observed. “I think it will help me clear my head about everything.”

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