Red Sox teammates defend Buchholz

Red Sox teammates defend Buchholz
July 18, 2013, 7:00 pm
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BOSTON -- Clay Buchholz' comments at the All-Star break indicate that his return to the Red Sox rotation will be dictated on his terms and when he feels like he'll be able to pitch.

The holdup right now is that Buchholz still has some soreness in his neck that has kept him out of action since early June. He'll be re-examined by the team orthopedist on Friday.

The longer Buchholz remains out, the more he'll be criticized by those outside the organization. Those in the Red Sox clubhouse defended their ace on Thursday.

"Getting him back to him being healthy and pitching the way he can, it would be huge for us," said Mike Napoli. "When he's pitching, we feel like we're going to win every day that he's pitching. So hopefully he's going to come back at 100 percent and not come back too quick, so we can have him down the stretch."

Red Sox manager John Farrell said that he would like to have a better grasp on Buchholz' timetable. So would Buchholz, who hasn't pitched in a game since June 8.

"We have every intention and hope and outlook that he will resume pitching this season," said Farrell. "I wish I could give you an exact date though, to be honest with you. And I know Clay would, too.

"There's no one more frustrated in this than Clay," added Farrell. "That needs to be made clear. This is a guy that, he's a strong competitor. He recognizes the situation we're in. And he wants to be on the mound. That's the bottom line. But at the same time, his body is telling him one thing."

That said, the Red Sox know they'll need Buchholz back and pitching like the ace he was before he went down (9-0, 1.71 ERA), if they want to have a legitimate shot at a championship.

"It's not a coincidence that, you know, championships have been won on pitching for the past 100-plus years, since the game was started," said Jonny Gomes. "There's not many World Series [games] that are won, 12-11. So, he's one of our best. He represented this team in the All-Stars. Unfortunately he couldn't pitch. But we've done a good job of picking him up as well, with injuries. So it would be nice to add him."