HOUSTON – Clay Buchholz seemingly took a significant step toward returning to the rotation, Tuesday at Minute Maid Park.
The Red Sox pitcher, who hasn’t seen game action since June 8 due to a trap/shoulder issues, threw off a mound for the first time July 14. The 27-pitch session was “night and day compared to” the tosses he executed in the bullpen in Oakland.
The plan for Buchholz is to now throw another bullpen Friday in Kansas City with greater intensity, having thrown at what he described as around 60-65 percent Tuesday.
“Just been awhile since I’ve thrown with any kind of intensity off a mound,” Buchholz said. “A little sore I guess from all the stuff we’ve been doing but it’s different than what I felt last time I went out.”
Neither Buchholz nor the Red Sox were willing to plan any sort of timetable beyond what is expected later this week. The bullpen Tuesday, however, did signal the start of building up the kind of strength needed to start thinking about returning to game action.
“That’s sort of what Dr. [James] Andrews said once you get to the point where you can get off the mound and it feels pretty close to normal,” he said. “That’s going to be what builds it up.”
“The biggest thing for me is what he stated after he completed the session. And that was, he felt nothing compared to his last bullpen session in Oakland,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “We fully recognize that through the intensity that he’s going through there’s going to be some normal things that he feels just by reconditioning and getting back in shape. Today was a good step for him.”
ANKLE DOESN’T EXPECT TO SIDELINE LACKEY
Even though John Lackey was sporting a sizeable swollen left ankle, having sprained it during his start Monday night, the pitcher said he doesn’t expect it to affect his preparation for schedule Sunday start in Kansas City.
When asked if he has had to deal with an ankle injury this bad, Lackey quipped, “Not an ankle. I’ve pitched with an elbow a lot worst than that. Nah, it will be fine. In five days it will be fine.”
MORALES DEALS WITH PERSONAL ISSUE
Franklin Morales, who seemed on the verge of making a return to the major league club after a few impressive outings with Triple-A Pawtucket, has been scratched from his scheduled relief outing due to a personal issue.
“Franklin has been scratched because of a personal situation,” Farrell said. “Our thoughts are with him on that.”
Morales last pitched Wednesday, throwing 2 1/3 innings of perfect ball, striking out three in the process.In has last three relief outings, the lefty hasn’t allowed a hit or walk, fanning six in 4 1/3 innings.