Buchholz struggles . . . but says it's not a bad thing

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Buchholz struggles . . . but says it's not a bad thing

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Clay Buchholz faced a little bit of adversity, in his words, Friday afternoon against the Tigers at City of Palms Park. He faced 19 batters in 4 13 innings, with eight reaching base. His only clean inning was the fourth.

But adversity is a relative term, especially in spring training. The kind he faced in this game, an 8-3 loss to Detroit, was nothing compared to that he faced several seasons ago.

Which is why Buchholz handles it with aplomb.

"I struggled with command with every pitch, Buchholz said. I could never get comfortable on the mound. Trying to make adjustments with my release point and went to both ends of the spectrum. Definitely not one of my best outings. Faced a little bit of adversity with runners on in just about every inning. You learn from it. Its still spring. Have a couple more outings and I'll go from there.

In three previous outings, spanning nine innings, Buchholz had allowed no runs on five hits and two walks, with six strikeouts. Facing some spring training adversity can be beneficial.

"It's good, he said. It's always good to get through without having someone get past second base, but there are going to be times when you struggle with innings, with guys at second with one out -- and you have to get out of that situation. It's good to go through them and sense what you need to do. I'd like to execute pitches a little bit better.

According to one scout in attendance, Buchholz looked like he was too concerned with the runners. But his changeup was good.

I thought he wasnt as sharp as hes been in a couple of his previous outings, said another scout. It looked like he was getting squeezed by the plate umpire a little bit. But he left some pitches up. He just wasnt as crisp as his other outings.

Buchholz gave up three runs, one earned, one five hits and two walks with a strikeout. Another batter, Austin Jackson in the fifth inning, reached on Kevin Youkilis first error of the spring.

I thought he fought his command a little bit today, right from the beginning, said manager Terry Francona. But he increased his workload by about 20 pitches, which is good. Hes got two more starts. I just think he didnt command as good as he normally will.

Still, Buchholz kept the game in check. He induced a groundball from Clete Thomas to get the rare 1-3-5 double play to end the first inning. The right-hander left in the fifth with the scored tied, no outs and two runners on. Hideki Okajima came in and allowed four runs in the inning -- all unearned courtesy of errors by Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez, the first of the spring for both with two runs charged to Buchholz.

I think he normally does keep the game in check, Francona said. In spring training that happens. I just think his arm strength, building his endurance, and then again as he progresses, hell be more comfortable. I just thought it was a day where it wasnt bad or anything. I just thought he fought to find his location a little bit.

Buchholz said he feels good at this point in the spring, but noticed some fatigue today.

I feel good. Body felt a little dead today, he said. I tried to get through some stuff, but it's getting to the point in spring training where the body is getting into a little bit of a dead phase. But it always seems to come back in the last week or so."

In his remaining spring outings, Buchholz will get to about 85 to 90 pitches before facing the Rangers in the third game of the season.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Price asks Red Sox fans for support: 'We will get through this'

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Price asks Red Sox fans for support: 'We will get through this'

If you're upset with the way the Red Sox have played recently, well, David Price understands.

But things, he vows, will get better. And he adds that it's only when you've been in the deepest valley that you can appreciate the highest mountain.

Or something like that . . .

Rodriguez shipped back to PawSox as Sox seek rotation answers

Rodriguez shipped back to PawSox as Sox seek rotation answers

After Eduardo Rodriguez's horrific performance Monday night against the Rays -- 11 hits and 9 earned runs allowed in 2 2/3 innings, leading to a 13-7 Red Sox loss to a team that entered the game riding an 11-game losing streak -- the Sox succumbed to the obvious and shipped him back to Pawtucket.  

And they got no argument from Sean McAdam.

"I think this is the right move," CSN's Red Sox Insider told Dalen Cuff on Monday night's SportsNet Central. "Because, clearly, the step forward that [Rodriguez] took, however small, last week was more than wiped out and (he) regressed this evening the way he pitched. And things have to be worked out, both in terms of execution and his approach . . . "

In six starts this season covering 29 1/3 innings -- less than five innings a start -- Rodriguez has been, in a word, awful. His 1-3 record is bad enough, but couple that with an 8.59 ERA, an opponents' batting average of .315, a WHIP of 1.74 and nine home runs allowed (a rate that projects out to about 45 homers allowed in a 150-inning season), and you can see why a change had to be made.

“The bottom line is, [Rodriguez] is capable of more," said manager John Farrell.

But now comes the next question: Who replaces him? And that, noted McAdam, has no easy answer.

"What it means for the rotation going forward is completely uncertain," McAdam told Cuff. "In fact, (Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski) told us that there was no corresponding move. Of course, because this turn doesn't come up in the rotation for another five days with the off-day Thursday, it's not anything they need to address (immediately). And in all likelihood, they'll probably get somebody to pitch out of the bullpen here until that turn comes up."

So the Sox get five days to ponder a problem that seems, in many ways unsolvable.

"[There] aren't a lot of good candidates internally," McAdam noted, "and it's unlikely there's going to be any sort of trade . . . in the next four days to fill that spot