Buchholz feels good after rough outing

Buchholz feels good after rough outing
March 4, 2014, 3:30 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The line was, frankly, ugly: one inning, one run allowed, three hits and a walk, with just 14 of the 26 pitches for strikes.
     
But Clay Buchholz wasn't concerning himself with numbers or results. Just over four months removed from a challenging end to the 2013 season, Buchholz was going on feel.
     
And the feel Tuesday, results aside, was good.
     
"It definitely feels completely different than it did the last month-and-a-half of last season," said Buchholz after making his spring debut for an inning against the Tampa Bay Rays.
     
Buchholz gave up a hard-hit leadoff ground-rule double to David DeJesus. The other two hits -- a single to left and a grounder into the shortstop hole which Xander Bogaerts reached, but couldn't catch Logan Forsythe at first -- weren't hit particularly hard.
     
After a terrific 2 1/2 months to start the season last year (9-0, 1.71 ERA), Buchholz missed the next three months with shoulder weakness. When he returned, his strength diminished, he was a shell of himself, getting by on changing speeds and guile.
     
Buchholz said he got what was he was hoping for from the outing. The Sox had originally planned for him to get an inning on the mound and another simulated inning in the bullpen after, but when Buchholz needed 26 pitches to get his three outs, the second inning was scrapped.
     
"First game jitters back from a couple of months ago," said Buchholz. "The velocity was creeping back up to where I needed to be. No problems throughout the whole thing."
     
Buccholz's breaking pitches weren't tight, but he said that's easily fixable. He said his velocity topped out at 92-93 mph, an assertion confirmed by one scout, thought another situated behind the plate didn't have him any higher 90 mph.
     
(In his last start of 2013, Game 4 of the World Series in St. Louis, Buchholz was pitching mostly in the mid-80s with his fastball.)
     
One scout said Buchholz's velocity was good, and his changeup was sharp.
     
"Just a bit rusty," said the scout when asked his overall impressions.
     
Facing an AL East rival which has seen him frequently over the last seven seasons, there were no secrets for Buchholz.
     
"They know what I throw and I know them," said Buchholz. "It's more about going out and getting a feel, regardless of who you're pitching against right now."