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Clay Buchholz on Bradfo Sho: ‘Not surprised Red Sox traded me’

03.13.17 at 11:17 am ET
Clay Buchholz says he was expecting the Red Sox to trade him. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz says he was expecting the Red Sox to trade him. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz says he wasn’t surprised when the Red Sox traded him to the Phillies last December. In fact, he was expecting it to happen sooner.

In an appearance on the Bradfo Sho, Buchholz said he knew he was probably going to be dealt when the team acquired Chris Sale.

“I knew when they [traded for] Chris Sale, I knew I was probably the odd man out. That’s just the scenario that popped up,” he said. “I thought if that was going to happen, I thought I was going to go somewhere involving in that trade. And that wasn’t the case. But coming to a place like [Philadelphia], this team’s been really good in the past, and a lot of people think this team is rebuilding, but for me coming in, looking from the outside perspective, there’s a lot of good talent here. I’ve been on teams that aren’t as talented as this team that we did pretty good. So that’s the way I’m looking at it. I’m looking at it as an opportunity to prove a lot of people wrong, and the veteran people in this clubhouse, I think that’s what we’re trying to instill in everybody that’s sitting here right now.”

Few Red Sox players in recent memory were as enigmatic as Buchholz, who was both dazzling and maddening during his decade in Boston. He debuted with a splash, throwing a no-hitter in his first career start against the Orioles in September 2007. But the following season, the right-hander struggled to get hitters out. He posted a a 6.75 ERA in 15 starts and was sent back to the minor leagues.

It was a harbinger of things to come for Buchholz, who made two All-Star appearances with the Red Sox but was also bumped from the rotation on a couple of occasions as well.

“I got sent down to Double-A in the middle of the [2008] season and that was a shell-shock for me,” Buchholz said. “There was only two ways to go about it: Either suck it up, swallow your pride and get better, or you can sulk about it. I felt like I came back from that and that made me a better person, better player, and I think that’s one of the reasons I’m still here today. I know that the bad times don’t necessarily define you as a player or person. You’ve got to learn from them, and I feel like I did a pretty good job of that for the most part. It’s tough to struggle at a game that you’ve never struggled at ever in your life, and that was the shell-shock of it. The first time I ever struggled was in the big leagues, and it’s hard to come back from that. But I found a way to do it, and here I am today.”

As a veteran player on a rebuilding Phillies squad, Buchholz says he hopes he can now be a role model for his younger teammates.

“I was blessed to get the opportunity to [play in Boston],” he said. I thought I knew going into it how hard the game was, but it’s a really humbling game. If you can play in Boston, I think you can pretty much play anywhere –– Boston, New York, where everything is magnified by quite a bit. That’s part of the game, that’s part of the reason why people play the game. You’re going to struggle –– and nobody wants to struggle –– but when the struggles come, it’s how you take it and how you learn from it. That’s the cool thing about being older now and being around the group of guys I’m around now. You’ve got a young crew of guys here, and if I can help in any way –– from my success in the past, from my failures in the past –– if I can try to preach a little bit about how to take it and what to look for and what not to look for, and go from there, that’s why I’m here.”

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