By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Even with the news that both Kevin Youkilis (hip) and Erik Bedard had returned to Boston to have injuries further examained, the news wasn't all bad for the Red Sox Friday.
Pitcher Clay Buchholz, sidelined since June with a stress fracture in his lower back, had what manager Terry Francona labeled "a really good day,'' in his comeback effort.
Buchholz threw from a distance of 120 feet, the longest distance from which he's thrown.
"He ended up with 70 throws,'' said Francona. "Very aggressive. The last 10 were on flat ground. He'll back off a little (Saturday) then we'll kind of put a program together for the last couple of weeks (of the season).
"We've got to sit down with Curt (Young, pitching coach) and Mike (Reinold, head trainer) and see what that is. But he really had a good day. It's encouraging when he gets out that far and he still feels better and better.''
Sometime next week, Buchholz should be able to start throwing off a mound in spikes and that will be the toughest test yet for his ailing back.
While the Red Sox are doubtful that Buchholz will have sufficient time to build up his arm strength enough to start again this year, they're holding out hope that he might be available to contribute out of the bullpen.
For a team seeking for a solution to its seventh-inning woes, Buchholz could have a role ready-made for him -- assuming he continues to progress and doesn't experience any setbacks.
Sean McAdam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam
Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis hit three-run homers and left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched two scoreless innings to help the Red Sox win their spring training opener, 9-6, over Northeastern University on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla.
Johnson, who made one spot start in his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2015 but then was derailed by injuries and anxiety issues last season, struck out three and walked one Thursday. He's expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts in 2016.
Moreland, the left-handed hitting first baseman signed to a one-year deal after spending his first seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, and Travis, a right-handed hitting first base prospect coming back from knee surgery last season, each hit three-run homers in a six-run third inning.
Pablo Sandoval, attempting to reclaim the third-base job after missing nearly all of last season after surgery on his left shoulder, went 1-for-2 with a double.
The Red Sox open Grapefruit League play Friday afternoon when they host the New York Mets at JetBlue Park.
CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games.
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On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.