Buchholz has eventful game but loses

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Buchholz has eventful game but loses

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. It was an eventful night for starter Clay Buchholz, and in the end, not one that resulted in a victory.

Along the way, there was a balk leading to a run, a hit batsman and a comebacker which struck his heel, helping to lead to his exit quicker than he would have liked.

Still, there was progress.

Following a stretch of six straight starts to open the season in which he allowed five earned runs or more each time, Buchholz contributed his second straight impressive start in a 21 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

He pitched into the sixth, and after being hit on the left heel by a ball hit back up the middle, came out after just 87 pitches.

"I felt like, overall, everything was good," said Buchholz. "My changeup came back tonight and I felt really good throwing that. I was able to locate curveballs early in the count and use it as a finish pitch, too."

Both runs charged to Buchholz came under somewhat bizarre circumstances. He balked home the first run when his cleat got caught on the mound as he attempted to try a fake-to-third-to-first move. Then, in the sixth, he allowed a sharp single back to the mound which clipped him on the left heel and caromed across the infield.

One batter later, he was out, and one batter after that, Joyce scored the only other Tampa Bay run of the game.

"I think it was more (a factor) after I came out," he said of the heel. "It was a little sore. It's nothing big. I didn't even have to get x-rays. You always want to stay out there. If your runs get cashed in, you want to be the guy that cashes them in and give the reliever a fresh inning."

Buchholz chose to emphasize the return of his changeup, which had been spotty for the first six weeks, as the night's most positive development.

"It's been a while since I've been able to throw it with some conviction," he said, "on 2-and-2 counts, or 1-and-2 counts to get a strikeout. But yeah, it's a big pitch for me."

"He pitched much better tonight," said Valentine. "He came up with a newfound changeup and I thought it really helped his repertoire. He controlled the head of the bat much better and got swings and misses."

"There's always things you can work on," said Buchholz. "But I feel like I've put in a lot of work on the side to the point where I can go out, pitch with confidence and use all of my pitches. It's still a work in progress, but going out and throwing against a team like this and holding them to two runs, it's good to go out and throw that way."

Red Sox trade Shaw, prospects for reliever Thornburg

Red Sox trade Shaw, prospects for reliever Thornburg

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Red Sox got the bullpen help they were seeking Tuesday, but it came at a steep price.
     
The Sox obtained righthanded reliever Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers, but it cost them infielder Travis Shaw, highly regarded shortstop prospect Mauricio Dubon and pitching prospect Josh Pennington, according to an industry source.

In Thornburg, 28, the Red Sox get a hard-throwing reliever whom they control for the next three seasons. He became the Brewers' closer after the trade deadline last year and recorded 13 saves while posting a 2.15 ERA and avergaing 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
    
He will serve as the Red Sox' primary set-up option to get to closer Craig Kimbrel.
     
One potential issue for Thornburg is that he's dealt with some elbow issues in the recent past. As recently as 2014, it was thought that he might require Tommy John surgery, but he instead underwent PRP (platelt rich plasma) treatment and has remained healthy.

Given that the last set-up reliever obtained by Dombrowski, Carson Smith, underwent Tommy John surgery last season, Thornburg's injury history raises a caution flag.

In dealing Shaw, the Red Sox are now expecting Pablo Sandoval to be their primary third baseman -- at least in the near term.

Sandoval missed all but a few games in 2016 with a shoulder injury and his conditioning has been an issue since signing with the Red Sox two years ago.

The Red Sox have Brock Holt to help out at third in 2017, with both Yoan Moncada and Rafael Devers waiting in the wings.

Dubon is the second top prospect to be dealt by Dombrowski in the last 13 months. He included Javier Guerra in a package with three other prospects to obtain Kimbrel in November of 2015.

Dubon posted a .912 OPS in half a season at Portland last year and recently played in the Arizona Fall League. He has limited power, but strong athleticism and makes good contact.

Pennington is 20, a hard-throwing (94-98 mph) righthander who could profile either as a late-inning weapon or a starter. He's years away from the big leagues and has already undergone Tommy John surgery.

The Boston Herald was the first to report that the teams had made a trade. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com was the first to report the details.

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.

During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.

But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.

In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.

On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.

Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.