'Dead-armed' Buchholz pushed back to Game 4

'Dead-armed' Buchholz pushed back to Game 4
October 24, 2013, 2:45 am
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BOSTON -- Following a period of uncertainty about the Red Sox' starting pitching plans for Games 3 and 4 of the World Series this weekend in St. Louis, Clay Buchholz revealed Wednesday night that he's scheduled to pitch Game 4 Sunday.

Emphasis on "scheduled."

Buchholz confirmed he's been battling some shoulder issues again, which likely led to diminished stuff in the sixth inning of his last start, Game 6 of the ALCS against Detroit Tigers Saturday.

"It's the toll of missing three months [during the season]," said Buchholz, "and trying to get back to where I left off. I knew that was going to be a feat in itself. I felt like I've thrown the ball pretty good, but the results haven't been what they were.

"I have, probably, one start left and this is where I want to throw it on the line. That's sort of how I'm looking at it right now. I haven't been 100 percent for a long time now. I've pitched at less than 100 percent the last couple of months, so what's one more?"

Buchholz said after coming out for the sixth inning in Game 6, he "couldn't really get [his shoulder] loose."

"It's just a little dead at certain points," he said. "It's not like a pinpoint straight spot where I can say, 'Yeah, there it is.' It's just in general . . . It sort of feels like [a dead arm]. When you reach back and want to throw something, it's not as hard as the pitch you threw in the first inning and that's what it feels like."

The tightness or fatigue, he added, "is just a feeling you don't like feeling going into the World Series. It's not out of the ordinary, [but] at the same time this is when you want to be at your best and that's what I'm trying to get back to."

On Tuesday, the Red Sox had Felix Doubront throw to hitters, then finish an outing in the bullpen under the watchful eye of pitching coach Juan Nieves.

Manager John Farrell insisted the side session had been scheduled all along in order for Doubront to get some extra work in, but it came only after both Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington had huddled with members of the team's training and medical staff, giving some the impression that Doubront was preparing to become the team's replacement starter for Buchholz.

The team submitted Buchholz's name as part of its World Series roster Wednesday morning, but he could still be removed if he or the team determine he's unable to pitch Sunday.

"Our goal right now is to be out there on Sunday," said Buchholz. "I'm going to do everything I can to make that happen and be well enough to go out there and give the team a chance to win. If it's me going out there at 90 percent, I'll go out there at 90 percent.

"But if it does come down to the wire and I going to go out there and not help the team win, there's no reason for me to run out there."

Buchholz has been undergoing treatment with the training staff and getting the shoulder massaged in an effort to get him ready. He revealed that he underwent some strength tests Monday, which were fine.

"Everything came out better than the last time," he said, "so it's just getting back into the everyday throwing activities and I think I'll [throw] off the mound on Friday."