Buchholz optimistic about returning to team

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Buchholz optimistic about returning to team

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.

Porcello loses 10th game as Red Sox fall to Twins, 4-1

Porcello loses 10th game as Red Sox fall to Twins, 4-1

BOSTON -- Twins rookie lefty Adalberto Mejia is feeling more comfortable each time he takes the mound.

Mejia pitched 5 2/3 innings in his second straight scoreless start, Max Kepler hit a two-run homer and Minnesota rebounded from two consecutive losses against Boston to beat the Red Sox 4-1 on Wednesday night.

"He did a nice job," Twins manager Paul Molitor said about Mejia. "He had to kind of battle. It's kind of becoming a little bit of his MO to burn through pitches, but similarly to his last start, he kept walking off the field with zeros."

Kepler also had an RBI single, and Miguel Sano added an RBI double to help the Twins improve to 24-11 on the road.

Mejia (3-3) allowed five hits, struck out three and walked one in his 11th career start. On Friday night at Cleveland, he held the Indians to two hits over five innings in a victory.

"I feel calmer every time I'm out there," he said through a translator. "I think that's why I did better."

Brandon Kintzler got the final three outs for his 21st save.

Boston starter Rick Porcello (4-10) gave up four runs on six hits in six innings, striking out six and walking two. It was his 14th straight start going at least six innings, the AL's longest active streak.

"It's not like they're beating the cover off the ball," Porcello said. "It's just a couple things here and there that I've got to clean up. I'm not making excuses for myself. I definitely hold myself accountable for the loss tonight."

Red Sox manager John Farrell was back in the dugout after serving a one-game suspension Tuesday for poking umpire Bill Miller in the chest during an argument Saturday.

The Red Sox stranded 11 baserunners, and at least one in every inning. Farrell thought his team may have been pressing a bit.

"I thought there were times we might have expanded the strike zone a little bit, trying to make something happen," he said.

With Minnesota leading 2-0 in the sixth, Kepler lined his homer off the back of Boston's bullpen.

In the first, the Twins scored a pair of two-out runs when Sano hit his RBI double down the third-base line and scored on Kepler's broken-bat single.

Xander Bogaerts drove in Boston's run with a bases-loaded grounder in the seventh.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: LHP Glen Perkins resumed throwing Tuesday after a setback last week following offseason shoulder surgery. Molitor said the club is still formulating a plan for him. He's been sidelined all season and pitched in just two games last year.

Red Sox: DH Hanley Ramirez missed his third straight game after getting hit by a pitch on the left knee Sunday. "He'll go through a full workday today," Farrell said. "He's feeling improved."

MATCHES OWN RECORD

Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia played his 98th consecutive error-less game, matching the best mark in club history he set for a second baseman from 2009-10.

LOOKS FAMILIAR

This season has started like 2015 for Porcello, the AL's reigning Cy Young Award winner.

Two years ago when he struggled badly, the righty lost nine of his initial 13 decisions and finished 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA.

ROSTER MOVE

Minnesota right-hander Phil Hughes was activated from the 10-day disabled list and LHP Craig Breslow was put on with rib cage soreness.

Hughes had been on the DL since complaining of a "dead feeling" in his pitching shoulder on May 21. He allowed one run in three innings during three rehabilitation appearances in Triple-A.

Molitor plans to use him out of the bullpen.

UP NEXT

Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (4-5, 6.23 ERA) looks to continue his success in Fenway Park in the series finale Thursday. He's allowed only one run over 15 innings in two career starts.

Red Sox: LHP David Price (2-2, 4.76) has won his last five decisions against Minnesota, posting a 1.84 ERA.