SATURDAY: The Red Sox have placed Buchholz on the 15-day DL, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com tweets. He does not have any ligament damage, however, which looks like good news for the Red Sox. It appears the newly promoted Brian Johnson will start in his absence, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald implies (Twittter links), although he’ll be in the bullpen today. The official diagnosis on Buchholz’s injury is a right flexor strain.
FRIDAY: Red Sox righty Clay Buchholz has left tonight’s start against the Yankees in the fourth inning. The Sox have since announced that he is dealing with right elbow tightness.
Trade rumors earlier this summer had connected teams like the the Astros and Pirates, to Buchholz. The Red Sox have won nine of their last 12 games and aren’t entirely out of the playoff race, however, and they hold options on Buchholz for 2016 and 2017 at reasonable prices, so it’s not surprising that rumors about Buchholz haven’t been particularly active lately. In fact, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford reported in late June that the Red Sox had no interest in dealing Buchholz. As the Providence Journal’s Brian MacPherson tweets, though, the threat of injury was one key reason a trade might have made sense.
The Red Sox’ recent surge has them only five games back of the second Wild Card spot in the American League, although they remain in last place in the AL East and are just two games up on the Athletics, who have the AL’s worst record. Buchholz’ excellent season (he has a 3.26 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 113 1/2 innings thus far) is one of the key reasons the Sox remain on the fringes of contention, and losing him for any significant period of time would be a serious blow to the Sox’ pitching staff and to their season as a whole.