Clay Buchholz long-tossed on the field prior to Sunday's Red Sox-Yankees game, but the biggest moment for the sidelined pitcher will come Monday when he travels to Pensacola, Fla. to meet with Dr. James Andrews.
Buchholz hasn't pitched since June 8 with shoulder and neck soreness. He continues to experience soreness when he throws off a mound and has been unable to clear the final hurdle that would get him back into the major league rotation.
The consultation with Andrews, it's hoped, will give Buchholz peace of mind.
"I think, given all Clay has dealt with,'' said John Farrell, "the start-and-stop in this whole throwing process, he's extremely frustrated with it. As it seemed like he was turning the corner in Seattle with the throwing he was doing, it hasn't. I think more than anything to get some verification and clarification through Dr. Andrews, to put his mind at ease is probably as important as anything he's dealing with from a physical standpoint.''
Andrews has already viewed some x-rays and scans that have been taken of Buchholz's shoulder, so he'll be well-versed for the visit.
"This is just a chance to get in front of him and (have Andrews) examine him physically,'' said Farrell, "rather than just viewing MRI images. Until that exam takes place, that's where things are.''
Buchholz met with the Red Sox medical staff Friday and underwent an exam, during which time the strength results were consistent with past examinations.
"That's where the puzzling aspect of this comes in,'' said Farrell. "The strength is there, the range of motion is there...It's just in that repetitive movement, he'll feel some restriction at some point through the range of motion. (The meeting with Andrews) can confirm what the findings have been to date, and more than anything, for Clay to have that peace of mind.''
What Andrews can do, more than anything, is give Buchholz assurance that the soreness isn't anything that will jeopardize him in the future and that no worsening of the condition will result from continuing to push past the discomfort.
In the past, several Red Sox pitchers have visited Andrews for much the same reason: assurance that they're not risking further injury by continuing to throw.