Still recovering from a hamstring injury suffered on the first day of pitcher/catcher workouts, Clay Buchholz is nearly ready for game action. Buchholz threw a simulated game at 10:00 am yesterday and had no issues with his hamstring during the exercise. Buchholz felt no pain after 37 pitches, and the final test will be whether the lanky righty is ready to run full speed to first base for the classic 3-1 groundout. Once Buchholz can prove he’s ready for that test, he should be playing in games relatively soon.
According to reporters on site, Buchholz looked pretty sharp aside from some control issues that are bound to pop up in the first live pitching of the year. Buchholz stated that apart from some kinks in his delivery and his stretch, he’s ready to go. He should still have five or more starts this spring and should absolutely be ready for the start of the season in New York on April 1. Buchholz will likely throw a bullpen tomorrow and should start a game in the next week.
If the Red Sox contend this year, they’ll need to have a fully healthy Buchholz. If he can pitch like he did from June-September of 2012, he should be a solid starter, as he put up a 3.36 ERA and 7-5 record in those months. So long as he is healthy, he should pitch like that, as he has every other time he’s been healthy in his career from 2009 on. Hopefully we’ll see him in spring training sooner rather than later, and he’ll be 100% for Opening Day.