PAWTUCKET -- If the Red Sox were thinking of starting Clay Buchholz in one of the games against Tampa Bay next weekend, nothing that happened in Sunday's rehab start for Pawtucket at McCoy Stadium would convince them otherwise.
After a rough start in which he allowed a hit and two walks to the first four batters he faced, Buccholz retired his final six hitters as he shut out the Syracuse Chiefs over a 2 13-inning, 43-pitch performance. The Sox were hoping Buchholz would be able to start three innings (he did), and he was only three pitches their optimal limit of 40.
His final line: 2 13 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts. His fastball, mired in the 90-91 range at the start of the game, topped out at 96 and he worked in a very effective changeup that helped him escape a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first.
Buchholz had last pitched on June 19. He was placed on the disabled list because of esophagitis, an inflammation that damages tissues of the esophagus.
"We're just looking for consistency," pitching coach Rich Sauveur said in an in-game interview on NESN, which televised the game. "He's had no problems with the arms, no problems with the legs, everything's fine. He just needs to get back up on the mound."
More to come . . .