Tag:Clay Buchholz
Posted on: September 12, 2011 1:27 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Red Sox GM says bring on the Rays

Theo EpsteinBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Boston's David Ortiz says it's time to panic, but general manager Theo Epstein said he welcomes playing the Rays four more times over the season's last two weeks.

Appearing on Boston's WEEI, Epstein said the team is struggling, but it's an opportunity to turn it around. But if they don't do it, they don't deserve to be in the playoffs.

From WEEI.com:

"I'm glad we play the Rays four times coming up. If we can't right the ship against these guys, if we can't do what we need to do, we probably don't deserve to get into the postseason," Epstein said. "As much as this looks like a crisis from the outside and obviously has not been fun on the inside, this is an opportunity. If we are what we think we are, to quote somebody else, then this is a great opportunity for us to go play well for 2½ weeks, ride some momentum into the postseason and be the team that we were for four months, the best team in baseball over four months. We have to go do that."

Epstein also touches on John Lackey (it's "frustrating"), Dustin Pedroia, J.D. Drew (he has a broken finger), Clay Buchholz's rehab (he may pitch out of the bullpen in the playoffs) and any possible moves the team can make in the last couple of weeks of the season, but the Cubs are not brought up.

In the excitement that notes the Rays have four more games against the Red Sox, it should be noted they have seven more games against the Yankees, as well -- and despite some delusional daydreams by fanboys, the Yankees aren't going to just lay down to screw over the Red Sox. 

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Posted on: September 2, 2011 9:40 am
 

Pepper: Royals could resemble Brewers soon

Hosmer
By Evan Brunell

Promising turnaround: The Royals figure to lose at least 90 games, but the chatter in baseball remains overwhelmingly positive for Kansas City, who is drawing comparisons to Milwaukee.

Boasting the best farm team in the bigs, K.C. has already begun integrating its young players into the team, especially on offense where the Royals have a brand-new infield. Shortstop Alcides Escobar kicked off the year with the Royals after coming over from Milwaukee in the Zack Greinke trade, while Eric Hosmer received the first minor-league promotion at first base. Mike Moustakas followed soon to play the hot corner, while Johnny Giavotella just came up to man second.

Greinke, a former Royal, faced Hosmer in a rehab start in April and remarked that it was like facing a 10-year veteran.

“You probably know this,” Greinke told Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star. “But Eric Hosmer is really good. I mean, really good.”

Greinke is now with the Brewers, a team Mellinger says could be how the Royals look like in a few years if and when their young pitching prospects start bearing fruit.

The offense seems to have it all -- two defensive linchpins in Escobar and catcher Salvador Perez, home-run threats in Hosmer and Moustakas, and a capable bat in Giavotella. And we haven't even talked about the resurgent Alex Gordon in left field, or the fine season that Melky Cabrera has turned in. Yep, baseball in K.C. is looking sharp.

Going yard: The 1,000th career hit for Jeff Francouer was a home run. "He told us he was going to get it in his first at-bat and he did, he didn't mess around with it," manager Ned Yost told MLB.com.

Baby giraffe: Brandon Belt has gained a nickname -- that of "Baby Giraffe." Well, he met the real thing when Six Flags Discovery Kingdom named its newborn giraffe after Belt, of which you can see pictures on Belt's blog. (A Veteran and a Rook)

MVP pitcher? Cole Hamels disagrees with my assessment that a pitcher should be eligible for -- and potentially win -- the MVP, calling the Cy Young Award the pitcher's version.

"We only play once every five days and I don’t know how much we can affect a team by winning all 33 or 34 starts because you still have to win 90 something games to make the postseason," Hamels told the Dan Patrick Show, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. You need an everyday player to really go out there and play 140 to 150 games to really be a sorta MVP candidate.”

My comeback? Don't look at games played. Look at at-bats. A hitter will generally receive roughly 600 plate appearances a year, while a pitcher will face a few hundred more hitters over the course of a season. Position players may play in significantly more games, but pitchers impact the games they pitch in far more than a hitter. It all balances out.

Bryce running: Bryce Harper, on the disabled list for Double-A, ran for the first time since straining his hamstringo on Thursday. The team is hopeful he can participate in the minor-league postseason. (Washington Post)

Baseball in the Netherlands: The Dutch look to be in prime position to host a baseball game in 2014, with the Netherlands preparing to submit a bid for a game to be played in Hoofddorp, a small city outside of Amsterdam. You don't hear much about baseball and the Netherlands, but interestingly enough, it's considered "the baseball powerhouse of Europe," Alex Remington writes. (Fangraphs)

Walk angry: Adrian Gonzalez struck out on a called strike to end the Yankees-Red Sox game on Thursday, with New York coming away with a victory after Mariano Rivera loaded the bases in the ninth inning. "That pitch was down, I should still be hitting. That's all I have to say," he told the Boston Globe. Maybe, but Gonzalez shouldn't have swung at two painfully obvious balls. For someone with his plate discipline, he sure looked antsy up at the plate.

Banged-up Sox: J.D. Drew's return to Boston figures to be delayed at least a week, but Kevin Youkilis could return as early as Friday. Another injured Sox player, Clay Buchholz, made 35 throws from 60 feet and reported no progress with his back. Buchholz's return may not happen until the playoffs, but if he can come back, it's a major shot in the arm. (Boston Globe)

Hobbled Yanks: Mark Teixeira had to leave Thursday's game with a bruised right knee after being hit by a pitch, and he looks as if he will miss a few games, the New York Post writes. Alex Rodriguez, meanwhile, is hopeful he can rejoin the starting lineup on Friday but admitted he just isn't sure to the Post.

Big step: Adam Wainwright will throw his first bullpen session shortly after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The season is lost for the Cards right-hander, but he can get himself ready to go for the 2012 season. It's possible that if a St. Louis minor-league affiliate goes deep into the playoffs that he could make a rehab start before baseball shuts down. (MLB.com)

Under the knife: Twins top prospect Kyle Gibson will wrap up a disappointing year by undergoing Tommy John surgery. Gibson was expected to win a rotation spot at some point during the year, but now Minnesota will have to cast its eye to 2013 for any significant production out of the first-rounder. (Minnesota Star Tribune)

Backpacking: A new trend is emerging in baseball as part of an old one. The junior member of a bullpen has always been expected to haul a bag full of snacks, drinks and pain medications to the bullpen. Lately, however, the bag has morphed into gear designed to embarrass the player -- a Hello Kitty backpack -- for example. The New York Times looks at the increasing trend.
 
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Posted on: August 22, 2011 2:03 pm
 

Buchholz could begin throwing Friday

By Matt Snyder

Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz has been sidelined since June 16 with a stress fracture in his back. At one point, it was reported that Buchholz was out for the season, but Monday he told WEEI.com that his season is not over.

"I feel that [he'll be back this season]," he said (WEEI.com). "It would be stupid for me to sit here and say, 'I don't think so,' and still try to be working toward that. I feel like I'll be able to. I feel like I've pitched through pain a lot and if it's not the same pain as that one start in Tampa then I'll definitely be able to throw. That's what I'm look at right now."

The right-hander hasn't thrown at all since July 25, but he's reportedly on schedule to be re-evaluated Friday and -- assuming no setbacks -- he'll pick up a ball and lightly throw then. He also told the reporter that he could be a reliever initially, which would make sense in late September -- as the minor-league season is concluded and a rehab stint against good competition wouldn't be possible.

Buchholz, 27, is 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 14 starts this season. He was an All-Star and finished sixth in AL Cy Young voting last season, as he went 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA. The Red Sox are currently scraping by with John Lackey, Tim Wakefield and trade-deadline acquisition Erik Bedard behind the strong 1-2 combo of Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. A healthy Buchholz would do wonders for their chances in the postseason, but that seems like a big leap at this point in Buchholz's recovery.

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Posted on: August 2, 2011 5:13 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 6:19 pm
 

Buchholz has stress fracture, not done for year

BuchholzBy Evan Brunell

Clay Buchholz has been confirmed to sport a stress fracture in his back, specifically in his L2 (lumbar) vertebrae, CSNNE.com reports.

Manager Terry Francona didn't rule Buchholz out for the rest of the year, but it's likely that he will be unavailable to pitch. It's possible he could make it back for the end of September or the postseason, but he would not have any minor-league games to rehab in. Surgery is not required; he will simply rest and rehabilitate his back.

"My aim is to try and get back for the postseason and to try and help this team win," Buchholz told the Boston Globe.

Buchholz landed on the map last season by posting a 2.33 ERA in 28 starts, finishing sixth in Cy Young Award voting. This year, Buchholz had a 3.48 ERA in 14 starts, striking out 60 and walking 31 over 82 2/3 innings. The Red Sox acquired Erik Bedard at the trade deadline in an attempt to fill the void. Bedard will make his first start on Thursday against the Indians.

The team released a statement saying there's no timetable for his return:
“Clay has a stress fracture in his lumbar spine.  He is responding to treatments and his symptoms are improving.  We have sent Clay to see three spine specialists, who all agree that the injury is stable and will heal on its own.  Clay will follow a five-step structured rehabilitation program, which will progress as his symptoms allow.  When completed, Clay will be cleared to resume throwing.  There is currently no time frame on his return, and his return this season has not been ruled out.”
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Posted on: August 1, 2011 11:28 am
Edited on: August 1, 2011 11:47 am
 

Buchholz done for year with back issue

BuchholzBy Evan Brunell

Clay Buchholz has a stress fracture in his lower back, a source informed Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.

The fracture is expected to knock the right-hander out for the rest of the season, although it is possible that Buchholz can return for the postseason. He is expected to see Dr. Thomas Watkins, a back specialist, in Los Angeles on Monday to confirm the diagnosis.

Already out six weeks, the loss is a big blow to Boston. Buchholz landed on the map last season by posting a 2.33 ERA in 28 starts, finishing sixth in Cy Young Award voting. This year, Buchholz had a 3.48 ERA in 14 starts, striking out 60 and walking 31 over 82 2/3 innings.

Buchholz has been sidelined for six weeks after originally believing he would only be on the 15-day disabled list for the minimum allotted time. He threw a bullpen session last Monday, deemed himself at 80 percent capacity and expected to throw another session Wednesday before starting a rehab assignment. That never happened, as Boston continued to be extremely cautious of Buchholz's injury and sent him for a MRI the day after the bullpen session, which revealed the fracture. Previously, it was thought Buchholz simply had inflammation.

These injuries are rare in pitchers, as McAdam says, but points out that David Wright recently returned from a two-month absence due to a stress fracture. Buchholz has already been out six weeks, so he has a quicker timetable for return. However, even if he's able to get back pitching by mid-September, all the minor-league affiliates will be done and the Red Sox probably won't be too keen on shoving him into the fire in the bigs. It's possible that Buchholz could complete the year out of the bullpen, although that's completely speculation at this early juncture.

The Red Sox acquired pitcher Erik Bedard on Sunday at the last second before the trade deadline expired, shipping three prospects to the Dodgers for fellow prospect Trayvon Robinson, then flipped Robinson plus an additional prospect for Bedard, who is injury-prone but can flat-out pitch if he takes the mound. Epstein admitted that Buchholz's injury factored into the acquisition of Bedard.

The news of Buchholz's injury coming out Monday is unsurprising, as it is the day after the trade deadline. Boston certainly didn't want to tip its hand as to the severity of Buchholz's injury, as it would have caused other teams to drive up the price in trade discussions, knowing the Red Sox would be desperate. Right now, the rotation appears to be fronted by Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, with John Lackey and Erik Bedard rounding out the top four, which will be the rotation Boston goes to battle with in October if Buchholz cannot return. One of Tim Wakefield and Andrew Miller, who were serving as the Nos. 4 and 5 starters prior to the Bedard acquisition, will stay in the rotation while the other is expected to head to the bullpen. Bet on Miller, who has been far more inconsistent as a starter and can serve as the second left-hander and long reliever.

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Posted on: August 1, 2011 9:44 am
 

Pepper: Pelfrey finds sinker; Buchholz finished

Pelfrey

By Evan Brunell

SINKING: Mike Pelfrey thinks he has his sinker back and is hoping to reclaims some optimism during a season where Pelfrey crumbled under the weight of being considered an ace, regressing from a 3.66 ERA in 204 innings last night to a 4.55 mark to date.

"Mike takes such pride in what he does," pitching coach Warthen told the New York Daily News. "I see a guy who was forcing his pitches instead of throwing them."

Pelfrey, for his part, believes that mechanics were an issue. The right-hander's bread and butter has been his sinker, but that lost effectiveness when he altered his arm slot to make his secondary pitches more effective. While Pelfrey isn't scrapping his arm slot, he did say he has to make sure to get his arm out in front of his body more when he throws the sinker. Perhaps then, Pelfrey thinks, he can start racking up the numbers he produced last season even though his peripherals in both 2010 and 2011 are rather similar.

"... I've never seen anybody that can command a baseball as well as he can," Warthen added. "So when he goes out and walks three, four, five guys, I'm just baffled. It's beyond my belief that that can happen with a guy who can do the things he can with the baseball."

Pelfrey will face the Marlins on Monday night and has long struggled against Florida with a career 1-7 record and 5.25 ERA in 15 starts. He'll look to use his sinker, which pushed him to a complete-game victory last time out, to walk away with a win. (New York Daily News)

TOP GMS
: You usually see a winners or losers list come out of the trade deadline, but what about a list of best GMs for those who focused on the short-term and then long-term? Unsurprisingly, contending teams dominate the first list, rebuilding the latter. (ESPN's Jim Bowden)

BAD BACK
: Clay Buchholz appears to have a stress fracture in his back, which will shut him down for the rest of the season and most likely the postseason as well. David Wright recently missed two months with a stress fracture. (CSNNE.com)

BELL EXTENSION: Now that Heath Bell is staying in San Diego, the talk can turn toward the Padres potentially signing him to a contract extension. Bell, for his part, continues to stand by his proclamation that he will accept a three-year deal with a hometown discount to stay with the Pads. (North County Times)

Dodgers DEAL: The Dodgers are considered one of the biggest losers of the trade deadline, dealing a blue-chip prospect for three organizational players. Steve Dilbeck pens a defense, saying the blue-chipper in Trayvon Robinson clearly didn't fit in Los Angeles' plans, plus they finally got the prospect catcher they coveted in Tim Federowicz. GM Ned Coletti says Federowicz could make the roster next spring training. (Los Angeles Times)

Cubs DON'T DEAL: Carlos Pena, who is expected to resign with the Cubs should Chicago miss out on Prince Fielder in free agency, was thrilled the Cubs stood pat at the trade deadline.

"I'd rather have someone really working toward our common goal, instead of (trading players) just for show," Pena said. "Our GM is not like that. He's not trying to 'look' like he's working. He's working. It's totally different than [thinking] 'I can fool the world by switching a couple pieces here,' and it really looks like he's making moves, making changes. When in reality it's just all for show.

"He's not like that. He's doing something that's going to mean something at the end of it all, something substantial, and we're going to reap the benefits. I'd rather have that. We put all our heads together, all our energy together, and personally, I'm excited about the possibility of me being part of that team. Even with our record at this point, with our difficulties, I can say the same thing. I'm excited about what's coming."

Sorry, Carlos. Hendry still messed up. (Chicago Tribune)

THAT'S NICE: That's the reaction of columnist Dejan Kovacevic on the Pirates' haul at the trade deadline, bringing in Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick. Unfortunately, they may be arriving aboard a sinking ship as Pittsburgh's pitching regresses. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

BEHIND THE SCENES
: Here's a quick look behind the scenes of the Francisco Rodriguez trade that sent the Mets closer to Milwaukee. K-Rod requested that his vesting option for 2012 be waived so the Mets were free to make baseball decisions about Rodriguez's usage. Alderson used that information to convince other teams the closer would void the option, which is exactly what happened once the righty moved to Milwaukee. (New York Times)

LOOKING FORWARD: Manager Eric Wedge won't let the Mariners get complacent the rest of the way, even if the trades made at the deadline deleted two strong pitchers from the staff and clearly set Seattle back this season. "What we're not going to do is spin our wheels," Wedge said. (MLB.com)

TOP DH: One of the best DHs in baseball history is Frank Thomas, who wasn't afraid to proclaim David Ortiz an all-time great at the position. Also, Thomas is a believer that DH gets a bum rap when it comes to Hall of Fame voting and perception of the position. "You ask any DH in the league how tough it is to sit there and pinch hit four times a day and put up monster numbers,” he said. (Boston Herald)

OPTION VESTS: Bobby Abreu's option for 2011 vested with his 433rd plate appearance of the season, reaching the milestone in the ninth inning Sunday against the Tigers. Abreu is now tied to Los Angeles for one more season at $9 million.

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Posted on: July 29, 2011 10:31 pm
 

Jimenez: Tigers out, at least for now

By Danny Knobler

The Tigers, trying hard to add a starting pitcher before Sunday's non-waiver deadline, circled back late this week to make another run at Ubaldo Jimenez, the Rockies right-hander who is the best starter on the market.

By Friday night, it appeared that attempt had failed.

According to sources, the Tigers were once again basically out of the Jimenez derby, with the door remaining only slightly open for the Tigers to come back for another try. That appears unlikely, and the Rockies were proceeding with the idea that Jimenez likely gets dealt to the Yankees, the Red Sox or to no one. The Indians and other teams have been involved in Jimenez talks, but as of Friday night, those talks seemed to be quiet.

It's not clear how strong the interest is from either New York or Boston, but both teams could use the rotation upgrade that Jimenez would provide. The Rockies have long regarded the Yankees as being the best fit, because of the wealth of prospects they could choose from, but talks between the two teams haven't been that smooth.

The Red Sox could be more motivated, with the news that Clay Buchholz is headed to California for an exam by noted back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins.

The Tigers were in on Jimenez early, but sources said that the Rockies weren't high on the Tiger prospects. It's believed that they insisted that top prospect Jacob Turner be included in any offer, and Jon Heyman of SI.com reported that they at one point asked for Turner and either Rick Porcello or Max Scherzer.

The Tigers could hardly include one of their big-league starters, since their rotation isn't deep enough, as is. The Tigers are just 4-16 when they use their fifth starter.

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 9:29 am
Edited on: July 26, 2011 9:42 am
 

Pepper: Bedard's start in nick of time



By Matt Snyder


Good news is hard to come by when a team has lost 16 games in a row, but the Mariners at least received marginally good news Monday. Left-handed starting pitcher Erik Bedard will return to the mound Friday (MLB.com).

On the surface, it's kind of a "who cares?" type movement. The Mariners are 15 1/2 games out and obviously will not factor into the AL West race. It's just that there's something else rapidly approaching, and that is the non-waiver trade deadline. Bedard is 32, on a one-year contract and has been effective when healthy this season (3.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 85 strikeouts, 26 walks in 90 innings).

With the deadline Sunday at 4:00 p.m. ET, Bedard's start coming Friday, several contending teams looking for starting pitching, a lack of quality starting pitchers readily available and the Mariners obviously in selling mode, Bedard coming off the disabled list couldn't come at a much better time for all parties involved. As long as he gets through the start healthy, expect to hear his name in rumors this coming weekend.

HOW TRADES HAPPEN: Former Reds and Nationals general manager Jim Bowden now writes for ESPN, and he has an article up about how trades happen. It's nothing really Earth-shattering, in fact it might seem a bit obvious, but it's still a detailed look about the methodology of going through a major-league trade from someone who has made several in his time.

BUCHHOLZ PROGRESSING: The Red Sox have the best record in the American League, and they've been doing it of late with a patchwork pitching rotation. Jon Lester returned Monday night and now Clay Buchholz is making solid progress in his fight to return from a back injury. Monday, he estimated that he's "75 to 80 percent" healthy after throwing a bullpen session, including breaking pitches (Boston.com).

LACK OF SECURITY: Last week, a fan ran onto Citi Field during a Mets-Cardinals game. Usually when these clowns run on the field, they're stymied by security pretty quickly. Not this time, as the fan took security for quite a ride. Jon Bois over at SB Nation has the details along with video and a map.

WHITE HOUSE INVASION: The Giants won the World Series last year with a group of colorful personalities. That group was back together Monday as the champs visited President Obama in the White House. The Giants went through the usual song and dance, glad-handing with the President, giving him some gifts and posing for plenty of pictures. Perhaps the best part of the whole visit was the presentation. You wouldn't expect personalities like Tim Lincecum or Brian Wilson to dial anything down for the visit -- like a haircut or shave, perhaps -- and they didn't disappoint. Check out the photo at right here, courtesy of the Associated Press.

SEVEN DOWN, TWO TO GO: Michael Cuddyer went into Monday night's game having played six positions for the Twins: First base, second base, third base, left field, right field and center field. After manager Ron Gardenhire saw his pitching staff bludgeoned for 25 hits and 20 runs in seven innings against the Rangers, he turned to Cuddyer for the eighth. Cuddyer ended up throwing the only scoreless frame of the game for the Twins. Sure, he gave up two hits and a walk, but he got through it without allowing a run (3 Up, 3 Down). No other pitcher for the Twins Monday could say the same -- Phil Dumatrait had a line with zero earned runs, but did allow two inherited runners to score. So now the only two positions Cuddyer has never played in a game for the Twins are shortstop and catcher. He has appeared as a DH before, so if you want to count that, he's eight for 10.

A-ROD ON TARGET: Yankees injured third baseman Alex Rodriguez had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee on July 11 and was given a four to six weeks timetable for his return. As things presently stand, everything is in order and the Yankees expect him back by mid-August (MLB.com).

WALLACE'S TIME LIMITED: Brett Wallace got off to a hot start for the Astros this season. It wasn't just a few games. Through April 30, Wallace was hitting .388 with a .988 OPS. Since then, however, both figures have pretty progressively come down to the current marks of .279 and .749, respectively. Manager Brad Mills has reportedly tried to balance protecting Wallace against left-handers versus trying to develop the young first baseman. Mills is now leaning toward sitting Wallace more often against left-handers (Ultimate Astros).

BALL-HAWKIN': Highly-touted Angels rookie Mike Trout hit his first major-league home run Sunday, and it was caught by famous ball hawk Zack Hample -- who has caught over 5,000 balls at major-league games and written three books on the subject. The OC Register has the story about how Hample planned to catch Trout's first homer, how he made it happen and how he gave the ball back to Trout.

MORE DAY BASEBALL: When the Marlins move into their new home next season -- hopefully to a lot more fanfare than they get in their current football stadium -- they'll be playing a lot more day games (MLB.com).

BROOKS WAS HERE: The Orioles have begun building a statue to honor Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson at Camden Yards. The statue will be nine feet tall and weight 1,500 pounds. It's scheduled to be unveiled Oct. 21 of this year. Fittingly, the statue will depict the 16-time Gold Glover preparing to make a routine throw to first base (Baltimore Sun).

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com