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Why Clay Buchholz’ visit to Dr. James Andrews might not be such a bad thing

07.21.13 at 6:46 am ET
By
Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

It looks like Clay Buchholz will be making a visit to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on the shoulder/trap injury that just won’t go away.

It’s a strategy Buchholz’ agent, John Courtright, first mentioned and the organization appears to be supportive of.

“I don’t see why I wouldn’t,” said Buchholz, who noted the plans hadn’t been finalized, but that’s the direction things were headed.

But while the mere mention of Dr. Andrews might make many cringe in regard to predicting the final outcome considering he is considered the go-to guy when it comes to performing what can often times be season-ending surgeries, there shouldn’t necessarily be cause for concern.

What Dr. Andrews also specializes in is peace of mind.

“Obviously I don’t really know why it’s taking as long as it is. That’s definitely part of it, for me at least,” said Buchholz regarding seeking a sense of closure thanks to Dr. Andrews’ diagnosis. “Obviously knowing the MRIs and all things I’ve done, they show there’s nothing going on in there. But there’s something going because it doesn’t feel right. Just knowing exactly what is going on will probably help out a lot.”

The perception among more than a few players is that if the longtime surgeon offers an opinion, it’s going to be the correct one. Red Sox pitcher Scott Atchison learned it, twice in the last year being told Tommy John surgery wasn’t indeed needed, and before him it was Josh Beckett.

In 2008, Beckett went to see Dr. Andrews after experiencing tingling and numbness in his right hand. Considering that the pitcher perceived the doctor as already having saved his career with sound advice nine years before, it seemed like the logical thing to do.

“Some people may say something to you and you may trust them, but you have some of those doubts and still stay reserved,” Beckett told WEEI.com at the time. “For me, if Dr. Andrews tells me something I can put it in my head and know, ‘This is how it is.’ It’s easier for me to get closure on something because I have that trust.”

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who visited Dr. Andrews for a second opinion in 2008 after experiencing right elbow soreness, also understands the value of garnering the doctor’s opinion.

“He was the best of the best so getting his opinion meant a lot,” the Red Sox catcher said. “Thankfully he’s the one who told me to shut it down for a few weeks otherwise if I kept throwing something would have happened. Thankfully I listened.

“Without a doubt (the opinion offers a sense of relief). He’s the best of the best. Other doctors are learning from him. If I hear from another doctor it’s great, but why not hear it from the horse’s mouth.”

Buchholz threw once again Saturday, this time off flat ground. The hurdle the pitcher has to seemingly overcome, however, is not feeling discomfort when tossing off a mound. Not being able to get past that part has been the mystery.

It’s a conundrum Buchholz is hoping Dr. Andrews can go a long ways toward solving.

“He’s been doing it for a long time. He wouldn’t be spoken as highly of as everybody does speak of him if he wasn’t one of the best in the world,” the pitcher said. “You know what you’re dealing with.”

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