McAdam: Buchholz energizes worn-out Red Sox

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McAdam: Buchholz energizes worn-out Red Sox

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
TORONTO -- They had arrived at their hotel here shortly before 7 a.m. Friday morning, having left New York hours earlier after a rain delay added 3 12 hours to their work schedule Thursday.

They trudged into the clubhouse mid-afternoon and were running low on energy. To keep their six-game winning streak going and maintain their perfect road trip after a sweep of the Yankees, the Red Sox would need the help of their starter, Clay Buchholz.

Long innings in the field would be worse than usual on this night. The Red Sox dearly needed efficiency and Buchholz provided plenty of it.

Through the first five innings, he had three 1-2-3 frames and another in which he faced just four hitters. He permitted just three baserunners in that span, and one was beyond his responsibility -- an error by shorstop Jed Lowrie.

He wasn't just good, he was quick -- exactly what the Sox needed to post an efficient 5-1 victory, their seventh in a row.

"Buck pitched great and it was a big win,'' noted Dustin Pedroia, who, having stopped in Boston Thursday for a checkup on his knee, flew to Toronto Friday morning on normal sleep. "It was good to get on the board before they did and let Buck do his thing.

"He had quick innings, his tempo was great. He threw the ball great against a really good lineup. He did a great job.''

Buchholz was working on two extra days' rest, thanks to some concerns about back tightness that dated back a few starts.

But Friday, he wasn't restricted at all. His fastball was crisp and his breaking pitches -- his curveball in particular -- had some finish that was missing last time out.

Buchholz had tried to fly ahead a night early to Toronto, but his flight was canceled in New York and he had to travel with the team, arriving in the wee hours.

"Once you step between the lines,'' he said, "everything usually stops for you and then you can run on some adrenaline. My bullpen session before the game wasnt as good as Id like it to be, but as soon as a hitter steps in the box, it changed for us and me and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia were on the same page for the most part, kept the flow of the game going, and felt pretty good.''

Best of all, Buchholz was worry-free after pitching with some trepidation in his last outing.

"It's still there a little bit,'' he said of some nagging back discomfort, "but it's not near what it was. When youve got something nagging, you dont want to mess it up any more than it already is, so you try to favor it a little bit. Today I wasnt favoring it and I was able to get some good extension on pitches I needed to be extended on.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu are back together.

The two Cuban natives were teammates in 2012 when they played for Cienfuegos in Cuba, and now they'll be in the same dugout once again — this time in Chicago.

"To get the opportunity to play with him right now in the United States, it's an honor for me," Moncada said through a translator on a conference call Wednesday. "I'm thrilled with that."

Click here for the complete story on CSNChicago.com

Red Sox notes: Sox did their homework researching Sale's character

Red Sox notes: Sox did their homework researching Sale's character

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- In today's game, teams are sure to do their homework when bringing in a star player. For either a big free agent or trade acquisition, clubs want to know everything they can about the individual.

New starter Chris Sale passes that test for the Red Sox.

"There's always an on-field (personality) and away from the game (to consider),'' said Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox' president of baseball operations. "On the field, he's as competitive as can be. He's got an edge to him - a good edge. His teammates love him.

"Off the field, I've heard a lot of pleasant things about him. I've heard tremendous things from him as an individual. A couple of our guys in the organization know him very well and say real good things about him.''

Sale was involved in two clubhouse incidents last season - one in which he angrily confronted White Sox president Kenny Williams about his decision to limit the amount of time Adam LaRoche's son could spend with the team, and another in which he cut up a throw-back uniform with scissors.

"I think you do your checking to see what causes some things,'' said Dombrowski. "But after I checked things, (I'm) not really (concerned).''

Another benefit to having Sale is that he could potentially take some pressure of David Price, who struggled at times in his first season in Boston and perhaps tried too hard to validate his $217 million contract.

"I think it's always good for a club if they have a number of guys, top of the rotation guys, to take the pressure off everybody else,'' Dombrowski said. "Because you know that everyone has a bad outing here and there, and somebody else picks you up in that case. I think that's helpful. If we didn't have (another No. 1 starter), I'd still have confidence in (Price).''

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It's possible that the Red Sox could go into next season with as many as four lefthanders in their rotation -- Sale, Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz.

"It's unusual to have four lefthanders, potentially, in the rotation,'' acknowledged Dombrowski. "A lot of times, you're looking for one. But if it was four lefties, that would be fine. I think it's more important that they get people out. I'd be comfortable with that.

"I've really never been in that spot before, which doesn't make me feel uncomfortable. I don't have a driving force to make any trades because four guys are lefties. I think they're good lefties.''

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Retired Red Sox slugger David Ortiz caused a stir with an Instagram post Tuesday night, kiddingly suggesting that the arrival of Sale was forcing him to re-think his decision to quit.

"It's amazing the number of people who reached out to me,'' laughed Dombrowski. "I know David well enough. I do know that if he really had sincere interest (in returning), he would call. But I also know that he has to stay on the voluntarily retired list for 60 days. So there's rules involved with that. But I know he was just joking.

"When I walk into the clubhouse and I see him working out, I say, 'You could play now. Look at the shape you're in!' But he says, 'Oh, nooooo.' ''

The Sox have yet to officially confirm that they've signed free agent first baseman Mitch Moreland. The two sides are in agreement on a one-year deal for $5.5 million deal, but a slight delay has taken place because of either contractual formalities or added time for medical information to be obtained.

"I can't say much about free agent players,'' said Dombrowski. "We've made some strides with an individual. But I'm not in a position to say much about that for various reasons.''