Buchholz has stress fracture, likely out for year

191542.jpg

Buchholz has stress fracture, likely out for year

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
CHICAGO -- With the benefit of hindsight, it's easy to now understand why the Red Sox spent so much time and energy on finding a starting pitcher at the trade deadline.

Clay Buchholz, who's been out six weeks, is suffering from a stress fracture in his lower back, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

It's unlikely that Buchholz will pitch again this season, though a return in the postseason has not entirely been ruled out yet.

Buchholz, whose last start was June 16, is scheduled to see noted back specialist Dr. Thomas Watkins in Los Angeles Monday. But Watkins will likely only confirm what has already been diagnosed.

Buchholz threw off the mound last Monday and told reporters afterward that he felt the session was a step in the right direction, adding that he felt about 80 percent recovered.

"I think it's going to feel better," Buchholz said at the time. "There was still a little soreness coming off after I threw. I sat down for about 10 minutes, did a couple stretches and it felt better. This is, I think, the biggest step in the right direction so far in this process."

However, the very next day, Buchholz experienced some additional soreness and underwent an MRI, which revealed the stress fracture. Previously, the official diagnosis had been that Buchholz was battling stress inflammation of the back.

Such injuries are rare for pitchers. They are more common in position players. New York Mets third baseman David Wright was diagnosed with a stress fracture in mid-May and only recently returned, having missed about two months.

No surgery is required for a stress fracture, which is usually healed with rest and treatment.

It's possible Buchholz could be physically ready sometime in September to resume pitching. By then, however, the seasons for every minor-league affiliate would be complete and there would be no venue for which Buchholz could rehab.

Without the benefit of live game conditions to build arm strength, it would be difficult for Buchholz to return late in the season. It's conceivable, the source said, that Buchholz could pitch in relief in the postseason, but that would be asking a great deal for someone who will not have faced major league hitters since mid-June.

General manager Theo Epstein, in a conference call with reporters Sunday to discuss the team's acquisition of Erik Bedard, said, "Clearly, we have some concern for Clay. It's been almost a couple of months now, which is longer than we expected it to be. We're still awaiting some more feedback and another opinion. I think we have a feel for what may be going on, but Clay is seeing another expert to get his opinion, then we're all going to put our heads together this week.

"I'll refrain from answering in too much detail until we have a chance to talk to Clay and we all have a chance to talk things through. Clearly any time a pitcher of his caliber isn't on the mound for a while and throws a side as he did on Monday but then can't necessarily back it up with another side and getting out there on a rehab assignment, there's some concern."

The Sox may have held off on making any announcement on Buchholz's condition out of fear that the news would cost them leverage in trade talks with opposing teams leading up to Sunday's deadline.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Pedroia returns to lineup as Sox look to extend winning streak to six

Pedroia returns to lineup as Sox look to extend winning streak to six


After leaving Thursday night's game in the fifth inning and missing Friday night's game, Dustin Pedroia is back in the Red Sox lineup Saturday as they look to extend their winning streak to six in a 4:05 game against the Seattle Mariners.

Pedroia felt pain his left knee Thursday night and was taken out of the game by manager John Farrell as a precaution. The rainy conditions and wet field were also factors in keeping the second baseman out Thursday and Friday. 

Pedroia (.288, two homers, 21 RBI) had surgery on the knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked various confrontations between the Orioles and Red Sox.

Left-hander Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to make his second start of the season for Boston and right-handed reliever Ben Taylor was optioned to the PawSox. Right-hander Rob Whalen, 23,  comes up from Triple-A Tacoma to make his first start of the season for the Mariners. 

The lineups:

MARINERS
Jean Segura SS
Danny Valencia 1B
Robinson Canó 2B
Nelson Cruz DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Taylor Motter LF
Guillermo Heredia RF
Mike Zunino C
Jarrod Dyson CF
---
Rob Whalen RHP

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Andrew Benintendi LF
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Deven Marrero 3B
---
Brian Johnson LHP 

Rodriguez continues strong stretch as Red Sox blank Seattle, 3-0

Rodriguez continues strong stretch as Red Sox blank Seattle, 3-0

BOSTON -- The Red Sox scored runs in bunches in tallying four consecutive victories. They leaned on pitching and defense to earn their latest.

Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six scoreless innings and the Red Sox took advantage of a sloppy performance by the Seattle Mariners for their season-high fifth straight win, 3-0 on Friday night.

It was the third win in a row for Rodriguez (4-1), who gave up just five hits and struck out four while throwing a season-high 112 pitches. Craig Kimbrel earned his 13th save.

"I just go out there and pitch," Rodriguez said. "I'm never really thinking about numbers. I just go out there and throw my pitches and do the best I can do."

That effort is producing one of the best stretches of his three-year career.

Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in his last seven starts, going 4-0 in that span. He hasn't allowed a run in 10 innings and only 11 runs in his last 49 1/3 innings. His ERA is just 2.01 over that same period.

"He was amazing," Jackie Bradley Jr. said. "Put zeroes on the board all night long. And he made the big pitch when he needed to."

The only run support Rodriguez needed came in the second inning, when Hanley Ramirez scored on Josh Rutledge's RBI groundout. Boston added two more runs in the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch and passed ball.

Manager John Farrell said his 24-year-old pitcher is in a "very good place" right now.

"He was powerful tonight," he said. "It's just a matter of his abilities coming together. This has always been an extremely talented young guy. We've talked about his maturity, we've talked about his progression. It's been on display here for a good number of starts consecutively."

Yovani Gallardo (2-5) took the loss. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, gave up seven hits and was responsible for all three of Boston's runs.

"The whole night obviously wasn't consistent," he said.

Seattle has won just one of its last seven.

Meanwhile, Boston gave Rodriguez got lots of help defensively. Bradley had a pair of nice plays, getting an outfield assist in the second and running down another ball on the warning track in the sixth.

In addition to the pitching miscues, the Mariners had all kinds of issues in the wet conditions, committing two fielding errors.

The Red Sox left 11 runners on base, leaving the door open for the Mariners to get back in the game. But Seattle couldn't capitalize, going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. The Mariners also left seven runners stranded.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (strained left forearm) was slated to make a rehab start Friday night in Double-A Arkansas. He has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 5. He could be activated for a start at the end of the month against Colorado.

Red Sox: Infielder Marco Hernandez will be out the remainder of the season after undergoing stabilization surgery on his left shoulder on Friday. Hernandez was placed on the disabled list May 4 with a left shoulder misalignment. The 24-year-old hit .276 with two RBIs in 21 games. ... A night after he left the game with left knee pain, 2B Dustin Pedroia was held out Friday for what Farrell said was "precautionary reasons" because of the wet playing surface.

MISSING: OFFENSE

Mariners manager Scott Servais said they are doing everything they can to find production from an offense that has gone missing.

"Offensively, we struggled to put innings together. That's kind of been the story here for the last week or so, we just haven't gotten the line moving at all, for whatever reason," he said. "Guys are frustrated by it, we all are. We know we're better than that, offensively. It's not happening right now."

Seattle was held scoreless for the fourth time this season.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Rob Whalen (0-2, 4.09 ERA in Triple-A Tacoma) will be making his first major league start since last season with Atlanta. He will be 12th different starting pitcher the Mariners have used this season.

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) will be making his second major league start this year and third of his career.