Clay Buchholz underwent surgery to fix a torn flexor pronator mass in his right forearm, the Phillies announced. CSNNE’s Jared Carrabis reported last night that the Phillies right-hander had decided upon surgery to fix his injury. Buchholz visited Dr. James Andrews to get a second opinion on his diagnosis earlier this week, and Dr. Andrews performed the procedure earlier today.
Buchholz is expected to be out of action for anywhere from four to six months recovering from the surgery, so Buchholz’s 2017 season is in major jeopardy unless his recovery period hits the low end of that timeframe. Buchholz was diagnosed with the injury last week, and as MLBTR’s Steve Adams noted at the time, several notable pitchers in recent years have faced similar injuries with a rather wide and varied range of DL stints. Buchholz’s own situation still seems somewhat fluid given the two-month window for his projected time on the disabled list, though Buchholz has a pretty substantial injury history that could factor into his recovery, including a right flexor strain that cut short his 2015 season.
Even if a return is possible before the 2017 campaign is out, obviously this injury is a huge blow to both Buchholz and the Phillies. After acquiring the right-hander in a December trade with the Red Sox, the Phils were counting on Buchholz for some veteran stability for their rotation and perhaps even a late-career breakout with a change of scenery and a move to the National League. Buchholz has looked like a front-of-the-rotation arm at some points during his 11-year career while also enduring his share of (partially injury-related) struggles. The Sox shifted Buchholz to the bullpen last season, though he pitched well after returning to the rotation late in the year.
After just two starts and 7 1/3 innings with the Phillies, Buchholz has an ugly 12.27 ERA. Looking beyond this season, Buchholz is in scheduled to hit free agency this winter, and another significant injury on his record will impact his chances of landing a multi-year contract. Buchholz is probably headed for a one-year guarantee at the most, or possibly even a minor league deal loaded with contract incentives.
Righty Zach Eflin has been called up to take Buchholz’s rotation spot, with Eflin scheduled to start tonight’s game against the Mets.