Buchholz has stress fracture, likely out for year

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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.

After strong bullpen session, Koji Uehara could be back by Labor Day

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After strong bullpen session, Koji Uehara could be back by Labor Day

BOSTON - For a bullpen that could use all the help it can get right now, there's the prospect that Koji Uehara could rejoin the Red Sox on Labor Day.

Uehara, who's been out since July 20 with a strained pectoral muscle, threw a bullpen Monday at Fenway that impressed John Farrell.

"He came out of today's work session in good fashion,'' said Farrell. "It was 25 pitches to hitters with good intensity to both his fastball and split. It's been impressive to see how he's handled the volume, and now, three times on the mound, the intensity to his bullpens and BP.''

Next up for Uehara will be a bullpen session Wednesday morning, followed by a live batting practice session Saturday in Oakland.

Since both Pawtucket's and Portland's seasons are over on Labor Day, Uehara won't have the option of going on a rehab assignment to face hitters before being activated.

But the Sox believe that he can build arm strength through these side sessions and BP sessions -- enough so that he could return to the active roster soon.

"We'll re-assess where is after Sunday,'' said Farrell, "and I wouldn't rule out activation [after that]. What we've done with Koji is just review how he feels after each session and we'll take it from there.''

Uehara, 41, is 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA, and while he's had a propensity for giving up homers (eight in just 36 innings), he had been throwing better before being injured.

And given the performance of the bullpen in general and the recent poor showings from Matt Barnes, the Sox would welcome Uehara back as soon as he's ready.

"The one thing that Koji has proven to us,'' noted Farrell, "is that, even with limited spring training work [in the past], he's been a very effective pitcher for us and obviously, he has a chance to make a very positive impact once he does return.''

Uehara's progress since late July has been a pleasant surprise for the Sox, who feared at the time of the injury that he might be done for the season.     

"To his credit,'' said Farrell, "he's worked his tail off and advanced fairly rapidly and he's withstanding the intensity that he's put into [the work]. A healthy Koji certainly adds to our bullpen.

 

Red Sox among ‘roughly half’ of MLB who’ll attend Tebow workout Tuesday

Red Sox among ‘roughly half’ of MLB who’ll attend Tebow workout Tuesday

Maybe Tim Tebow could be the eighth-inning guy? 

OK, OK. Maybe not. Still, the Red Sox will be among the “roughly half” of the MLB teams who will attend the former Heisman Trophy winner and Patriots’ 2013 training camp phenomenon’s baseball tryout on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Tebow is 29 and hasn’t played organized baseball since he was a junior in high school. He was an All-State performer in Florida back then.

Based on his accuracy and mechanics throwing a football, maybe DH would suit Tebow better than the mound. 

 

 

Monday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: No Pedroia to start, Porcello goes for 18th

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Monday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: No Pedroia to start, Porcello goes for 18th

Dustin Pedroia is out of the Red Sox starting lineup for the second night in a row as they open a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays tonight at Fenway Park.

Pedroia, who left the team Sunday to attend a family funeral, told manager John Farrell that he might be able to return during the game Monday night. 

"Based on his texts he's envisioning a walk-off hit in the ninth," Farrell said before the game Sunday. "Much like Pedey's fashion, that was his parting text this morning before he left."

For the second game in a row, Brock Holt will play second base in place of Pedroia and bat leadoff. The Red Sox lost 10-4 to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday night. 

Right-hander Rick Porcello (17-3, 3.23 ERA) will go for his 18th win and try to match Dave “Boo” Ferris in 1946 as the only Red Sox pitchers to go 13-0 at Fenway Park. Right-hander Matt Andriese (6-5, 3.71) starts for the Rays.

The lineups:

RAYS

Logan Forsythe 2B

Kevin Kiermaier CF

Evan Longoria 2B

Brad Miller 1B

Matt Duffy SS

Logan Morrison DH

Nick Franklin RF

Corey Dickerson LF

Bobby Wilson C

Matt Andriese RHP 

RED SOX

Brock Holt 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

David Ortiz DH

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez 1B

Travis Shaw 3B

Chris Young LF

Sandy Leon C

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Rick Porcello RHP