Boston Red Sox

Buchholz returns to clubhouse after 5-day hospital stay

787526.jpg

Buchholz returns to clubhouse after 5-day hospital stay

BOSTON Clay Buchholz was in the Red Sox clubhouse Wednesday morning before the start of the homestand finale against the Blue Jays.

Buchholz had spent the previous five days at Massachusetts General Hospital, including a stay in the intensive care unit as he was treated for esophagitis. He was released around midnight Tuesday, he said.

I feel a lot better, Buchholz said. It was a struggle for a couple days but its, yeah, good to be back. I felt pretty good for the last two, three days. But still doing some tests in there, and had to keep me in there a couple of extra hours. But I feel good. Got to get some, obviously, got to start slow.

Manager Bobby Valentine was happy to see the right-hander in the clubhouse.

He looked so much better than I was led to believe I was going to see, Valentine said. Hasnt lost as much weight as I heard he had and he had good color, eyes were bright. I think its just going to be getting him back in the saddle and hopefully the illness is behind us.

Valentine said it wasnt a surprise to see Buchholz.

I wasnt surprised to see him because I was on a radio show where I heard his wife said he was out of the hospital, Valentine said.

Buchholz last pitched June 19, a win over the Marlins, the first game on the current nine-game homestand. He began to feel symptoms a few days after his outing, during Wednesdays game.

I just laid on the couch all night, just really didnt feel good, he said. Just thought I had a little stomach virus or whatever. And woke up a couple times in the middle of the night to use the restroom or whatever and right when I stood up got really light headed, felt like I was going to pass out. So I just laid back down. And thats when I sort of knew that something was going wrong.

Buchholz was admitted to MGH on Friday, placed in ICU, with what was eventually diagnosed as esophagitis which led to an erosion of the esophagus and an associated gastrointestinal bleed, according to a statement released by the Sox on Tuesday night.

The first couple days I dont really know what was going on. It was sort of a blur, Buchholz said. I was just laying in a bed and feeding me with tubes. So it was a little awkward. Bu it think basically they were giving me medicine to coat my stomach, wherever the bleeding was coming from so it would stop bleeding. Thats whenever they started doing the tests, and really never cared to know what was going. I just wanted to get out of there. So thats where Im at now.

Sox principal owner John Henry and CEO Larry Lucchino visited the right-hander in the hospital Tuesday night.

Buchholz will not be going on the seven-game road trip to Seattle and Oakland, which begins Thursday.

No, Im sure Im going to have to go in and do some more tests when the guys go on the road, he said. So might know a bit more from that. They still really still hadnt put a finger on what happened or what caused it and why it stopped bleeding or why it started. It would be news to me, too.

He said he received three or four pints of blood to offset the effect of the internal bleeding along with the liquid medicine that they were giving me for the stomach stuff.

The whip-thin Buchholz was surprised to find out he had only loss three pounds, despite not being able to eat for several days.

I didnt eat the for the first 72 hours, I didnt eat right when I got in there, he said. And I just started eating like two days ago. Stepped on a scale and I was only three pounds lighter than when I left. So that was a good thing.

He does have restriction on what he is able to do now.

I think its just sort of ease my way back into everything, he said. Obviously not do a whole lot of running or anything. I dont think my blood count's quite up to where it needs to be for the everyday activity that we do here. So start slow, start doing some shoulder work and maybe just walking around outside instead of running with the guys, just getting outside and getting my legs back underneath me and go from there.

He said he wasnt weak, but, then again he was just standing around, talking to a group of reporters.

But if I was moving around and stuff, if I was running up and down some stairs or running on the treadmill, I think id be fatigued, he said. But they said thats going to be quick to come back in the next three or four days. So hopefully when we get to that point thats when Ill start all my stuff.

Buchholz, who had never experienced a similar event in the past, was concerned during the ordeal.

It was really scary, he said. Ive never felt the urge to pass out every time you stand up and I didnt really know what was going on and whenever got doctors saying, Alright, well just come to my doctors office and well check you out. And I was like, I cant get there, I cant walk.

So it was pretty scary for about two days and then I think they were trying to downplay it a bit. I think when youre laying in ICU where Im from that usually means that stuffs not going really well. So once I got out of there the doctors were pretty upfront about saying it wasnt really life-threatening at this point. So they just had to keep me in there to make sure the thing wasnt losing any more blood. And thats where were at right now.

Although he wasnt aware of the blood loss, Buchholz said the effects were apparent.

It felt like to me I didnt have any blood circulation so whenever I was laying down everything was completely fine, I felt fine, he said. But when I stood up everything was blurry and sort of had that sensation that you wanted to pass out. But didn't really know what was going on.

Obviously right before the hospital that's when everything was really bad. And right when I got to the hospital and they started putting the medication in me everything got better. That was Friday.

I think I was in ICU for two days, the day that I got there and then I stayed there for two full days after that. So two-and-a-half days.

June has not been a kind month to Buchholz in recent seasons. In 2010 he suffered a hamstring injury running the bases during an Interleague game in San Francisco, missing almost a month. In 2011, after his June 16 start, he was placed on the DL with a stress fracture in his lower back and missed the rest of the season. And now this.

Yeah, June, my Junes arent good the last two years, he said. Ive had some bad Junes. But yeah thats what I was telling Mr. Henry and Mr. Lucchino, they came in yesterday. I was like, You know, guys, Im going to try to hold out next year on the June deal that hopefully I can skip past the bad Junes.

Hopefully everythings done and over with now and can get back to playing shape an start throwing whenever the guys are on the road again. Then go from there.

Buchholz isnt sure what is next for him in the medical process. He might have blood tests over the next few days to measure his blood count, he said.

He doesnt know when he will return to the rotation.

I think its all in feel right now and how my bodys going to feel getting out and throwing, starting to move around, he said. I got to get my legs back underneath me. So thats going to take as long as it has to take. Im not going to push myself to get back in here earlier than what I feel like I need to.

Thats really important, Valentine said, of Buchholz getting strength back in his legs. Its not a clich. Its figurative as well as literal. He says it but you really have to have that foundation before you start propelling the ball forward.

Buccholz is happy, though, that his appetite has returned.

Oh, yeah, man, its been back for a little bit, he said. I could have just stayed in the clubhouse lunch room and eaten all day. You dont know how good food is until you have to eat hospital food for a couple days.

I had a burger in there. Somebody snuck a burger in the hospital for me and a pizza. So that was good.

Drellich: Pomeranz, league's second-best lefty, knows how to be even better

pomeranz_redsox_082317.jpg

Drellich: Pomeranz, league's second-best lefty, knows how to be even better

BOSTON — Drew Pomeranz may not actually be the No. 2 starter for the Red Sox in this year’s presumed American League Division Series. Maybe the Sox will mix in a right-hander between Pomeranz and Chris Sale.

Still, everyone knows which pitcher, in spirit, has been the second-most reliable for the Red Sox. A day after Chris Sale notched his 300th strikeout and on the final off-day of the regular season, it’s worth considering the importance of the other excellent lefty on the Sox, and how much he’s meant to a team that’s needed surprise performances because of the lineup’s drop-off.

Per FanGraphs’ wins above replacement, Pomeranz is the second-most valuable lefthanded starter among those qualified in the American League (you know who's No. 1). He's one of the 10 best starters in the AL overall.

MORE RED SOX:

Pomeranz, 28, was a first-round pick seven years ago. But he didn’t exactly blossom until the last two years. He has a 3.15 ERA in 165 2/3 innings. His next start, if decent, should give him a career-high in innings after he threw 170 2/3 last year.

Pomeranz is a 16-game winner, just one win behind Sale. The value of wins and losses is known to be nil, but there’s still a picture of reliability that can be gleaned.

Is this the year Pomeranz became the pitcher he always envisioned he would be?

“I don’t know, I mean, I had a pretty dang good year last year,” Pomeranz said, referring to a 3.32 ERA between the Padres and Sox, and an All-Star selection. “I think these last two years have been kind of you know, more what I wanted to be like. But I still, I don’t think I’m done yet, you know what I mean?”

Most pro athletes say there’s always room to improve. Pomeranz, however, was able to specify what he wants. The focus is on his third and fourth pitches: his cutter and his change-up. 

“My changeup’s been really good this year,” Pomeranz said. “That’s something that still can go a lot further. And same with my cutter too. I still use it sparingly. I don’t think me just being a six-inning guy is the end of it for me either.

“You set personal goals. You want to throw more innings, cover more innings so the bullpen doesn’t have to cover those. Helps save them for right now during the year.”

Early in the year, Pomeranz wasn’t using his cutter much. He threw just nine in April, per BrooksBaseball.net. That led to talk that he wasn’t throwing the pitch to take it easy on his arm. He did start the year on the disabled list, after all, and cutters and sliders can be more stressful on the elbow and forearm.

That wasn’t the case.

“The reason I didn’t throw it in the beginning of the year was because half the times I threw it went the other way,” Pomeranz said. “It backed up. Instead of cutting, it was like sinking or running back. I mean, I pitched [in Baltimore] and gave up a home run to [Manny] Machado, we were trying to throw one in and it went back. So I didn’t trust it.

“Mechanical thing. I was still trying to clean my mechanics up, and once I cleaned ‘em up and got my arm slot right, then everything started moving the way it was supposed to and then I started throwing it more.”

Pomeranz’s cutter usage, and how he developed the pitch heading into 2016, has been well documented.

The change-up is more of an X-factor. He threw five in each of his last two starts, per Brooks, and it’s a pitch he wants to use more.

“It’s been good,” Pomeranz said. “I think I could throw it a lot more and a lot more effectively, and ... tweaking of pitch selection probably could help me get into some of those later innings too.”

Well, then why not just throw the change more often? Easier said than done when you’re talking about your fourth pitch in a key moment.

“I throw a few a game,” Pomeranz said. “Sometimes you feel like you don’t want too throw it in situations where you get beat with your third or fourth best pitch. I mean it’s felt — every time I’ve thrown it it’s been consistent. It’s just a matter of, it’s something me and Vazqy [Christian Vazquez] talk about, too." 

(When you hear these kind of issues, which most pitchers deal with, it makes you appreciate Sale’s ability to throw any pitch at any time even more.)

Speaking on Wednesday, the day after Pomeranz’s most recent outing, Sox pitching coach Carl Willis said he thinks the change-up’s already starting to have a greater presence.

“He’s kind of always had a changeup, and he hadn’t had any trust or conviction in that pitch,” Willis said. “I was really excited last night that he used the changeup more. He threw it. He doubled up with it on occasion. Something that’s not in the scouting report.

"It’s his fourth pitch and he seldom threw it in a game and he’s in a situation where, OK, the change-up’s the right pitch, but location of whatever I throw is going to outweigh [selection]. Now he’s starting to gain that confidence [that he can locate it]. 

“I think that’s going to make him an extremely better pitcher. I thought it was a huge factor in his outing last night. Because he didn’t have his best velocity. He really did a good job of changing speeds with the changeup, and obviously with the curveball and being able to give different shapes of the pitches.”

The Sox already have the best left-hander in the AL, if not anywhere. The AL's second-best southpaw happens to pitch on the same team, and has tangible plans to be even better.

CSNNE SCHEDULE

Werner criticizes Price for Eck incident; says Sox' relationship with Yanks is 'frosty'

boston-red-sox-tom-werner-81414.jpg

Werner criticizes Price for Eck incident; says Sox' relationship with Yanks is 'frosty'

BOSTON — Red Sox chairman Tom Werner doesn’t seem to be the biggest fan of the the Yankees, MLB disciplinarian Joe Torre, and players who can’t take criticism from broadcasters.

In a spot Thursday with WEEI, Werner made clear David Price’s handling of Dennis Eckersley was unprofessional.

“Boston is a tough place to play,” Werner said on WEEI’s Ordway, Merlonia and Fauria. “Some players thrive here, and some players don’t. Get a thicker skin. My feeling is, let the broadcasts be honest, be personable, informative, and get over it if you think a certain announcer took a shot at you.”

“I thought there was a way of handling that. It wasn’t handled appropriately. If I’ve got a problem with Lou [Merloni], and I hear something he says on the radio, I’ll say to Lou, ‘That wasn’t fair.’ ”

Werner also called the team’s relationship with the Yankees “frosty” following the public sign-stealing saga that resulted in fines for both clubs.

“The fact is, I do think this was a minor technical violation,” Werner said. “I start with the fact that this was unfortunately raised to a level it never should have been raised to.”

Werner also insinuated he did not approve of how MLB and Torre handled the disciplining of Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, who receieved a four-game suspension for his part in a fight against the Tigers (reduced on appeal to three games).

“Do you think Gary Sanchez got an appropriate punishment?” Werner asked.