BOSTON – Although Clay Buchholz has no timetable for a return from the disabled list and a visit to Dr. James Andrews on Monday suggested the right-hander may not return before September, Red Sox manager John Farrell said he is optimistic Buchholz would return, and the team would maintain a rehab course that would progress as Buchholz could tolerate.
“The one thing that’s been consistent throughout this is we’ve tried to progress as Clay’s tolerated. That won’t change,” Farrell said. “So what we’re looking to achieve first is that he throws aggressively off flat ground at 90 feet before we would incorporate the angle of the mound. That’s why I know when questions were asked [Monday] -- is there a target date? -- well it’s kind of hard to pinpoint that. So we look at this in phases: the reconditioning and the strength gains from a throwing standpoint to then incorporating the mound, to incorporating ups and downs through a simulated game, and then ultimately rehab starts. So this will all be determined on Clay's tolerance and how he responds to the increased intensity.
“We have to keep Clay’s health first and foremost, which has been the case all throughout this. That won’t change and whatever time is needed, clay is going to return to us when he’s ready.
“I think we’re still very optimistic he’s going to pitch for us. To be determined on the date.”
Asked how comfortable he is with his current rotation, Farrell replied:
“If the five-man rotation goes out and pitches to their capabilities, comfortable.”
Although, the team has not officially announced it, Dustin Pedroia has signed a seven-year extension. Asked what Pedroia means to the team, Farrell replied:
“I know there’s conversations going on, I don’t know that anything is official yet. But what Dustin means to this team, the example in which he demonstrates every day, whether it’s his early work, the way he competes inside a game, he sets the tone for us, and he embodies everything we value as a player, the respect of the game that he has and the effort he puts forth every night.”
Asked whether the season-ending suspension handed down yesterday by Major League Baseball to the Brewers’ Ryan Braun represented progress or a step back in baseball’s attempts to get PED’s out of the game, Farrell replied:
“I look at it as progress only. And it clearly shows that Major League Baseball is doing whatever’s possible to continue to clean up the game. And we’re all well aware of the testing procedures that are in place, the further investigations that have come out because of this situation say that they’ll go to every length to do just that, to achieve that goal. I think what would be even more interesting because of the consequences that have been accepted on his part, does that have any effect on the names that might potentially be released going forward?”
Farrell said the approaching non-waiver trading deadline of July 31 would not be the only factor for the team to make a move.
“We know that there’s a date out there but we don’t want that date to force us to do something that we don’t feel is a benefit to this team,” he said. “That’s the one thing that I can say with confidence is a thread through all the conversations that we’ve had.”
Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is getting the night off. After playing against Rays left-hander Matt Moore on Monday and now sitting against right-hander Roberto Hernandez (against whom Ellsbury is batting .235, going 4-for-71) and with just three games played since the All-Star break, the move might appear curious. Farrell said the move was made in the interest of “match-ups,” and also that in the first 10 games after the break he will look to find days to rest his players.
“These 10 games coming out of the break are looked upon all with equal importance,” Farrell said. “Trying to find spots to rotate guys through and that’s what tonight is for Jacoby.”