By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON Clay Buchholz, on the disabled list since June 17 with a lower back strain, threw off the mound today and is optimistic, if cautiously so, about returning in time to join the Red Sox in the playoffs.
I felt good today, 30 pitches from 60 feet, threw everything, he said. I had Conor Jackson standing there as a hitter so it gave me a little different feel today. Had no issues with the back today. It felt fine. The main thing, arm strength not quite there with the four-seams and everything. But theres no issues as far as the back goes.
He will wait to see how he feels tomorrow and Monday to re-evaluate before taking the next steps.
Probably throw another bullpen at some point, he said. I dont know if its going to be an every-other day thing. But I think thats how it has been in the past, but like I said, tomorrow well reevaluate, see how the body feels and then go from there.
Having a batter standing in helped him evaluate his pitches, which he was throwing at about 75 80 percent effort.
Its more realistic, I guess, He said. Obviously hes not swinging so it just helps out with where you want to throw your pitches. You can go in with your two-seamer and see what a hitters thinking. Having that guy up there and knowing whats coming and still seeing the pitch and how its moving, gave me a little bit of feedback to see if its a good pitch or not.
I hadnt thrown in 2 months, so yeah, thats just a pitch thats going to come in time. Its not a pitch that bounces right back. Cutters the same way. The first pitch that usually comes right back is your four-seam and changeup just because the same arm action. Its a different grip. So two-seamers a different pitch.
At this point, Buchholz is looking, hopefully, more to the playoffs than to the regular season.
My thought process hasnt ever been pitching in the regular season, he said. I want to be back for the playoffs. So if we work up to that point and I feel good enough to pitch in that last series in Baltimore, then I dont see why not. My whole goal was to pitch in the playoffs and get to the playoffs and try to help this team win.
Its a time thing. Its how everything feels. If I feel fine about it. then I feel confident, then its, I dont know if its going to be the role that I want to be in, obviously I want to start. I dont know if theres going to be enough time for me to build up to that. If the team thinks I can help them in a different role, then Ill do it. If not, then dont want to make the team worse.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.