When the Red Sox placed Clay Buchholz on the disabled list on June 19, the story at the time was that he had a muscle strain and two weeks off should solve the problem.
Now, two weeks later, Buchholz is being sent to a specialist in North Carolina to try and determine the extent of his injury.
Team medical director Dr. Thomas Gill examined Buchholz today and recommended that he see Dr. Craig Brigham in Charlotte later this week
“It’s kind of interesting,” manager Terry Francona said. “It just hurts when he does certain things pitching. He’s moving around so well other than that. When we send him out there, we want him to know, even if it hurts, he’s not hurting himself.”
This is almost exactly what happened with Buchholz's hamstring injury last season. What looked like a minor issue turned into him missing nearly a month. That will be the case again as Buchholz will not pitch until after the break.
In terms of other injury news:
• Carl Crawford (left hamstring) had a full workout before the game and picked up the intensity from his earlier work. He will try running the bases tomorrow. “I was running pretty well,” Crawford sad. “It’s getting there.”
• Kevin Youkilis left today's game in the fourth inning after being hit on the upper back by Toronto starter Brandon Morrow. Youkilis fell to the dirt and was attended to by Francona and head athletic trainer Mike Reinold before leaving the game. It was the ninth time Youkilis has been hit this season, tying him for fourth-most in the majors.
“We got him out for precautionary reasons. He’s got a headache,” Francona said. “We’ll re-evaluate him and see how he’s doing tomorrow.”
As for the game, it's to their credit that the Red Sox made it interesting after falling behind 7-0 in the third inning.
A few facts and figures on John Lackey:
• It was the fourth time in 13 starts this season that Lackey has allowed at least seven earned runs. Only Fausto Carmona of Cleveland can match that dubious achievement and he has made 18 starts.
• Among major league pitchers with at least 70 innings this season, Lackey has the highest earned run average by more than a run at 7.47.
• His ERA in seven starts at Fenway is 9.17.
• Lackey is 19-19 with a 5.16 ERA since signing a five-year, $82.5 million deal. The Sox are 21-25 in the games he has started
• Lackey also has lost three consecutive starts for the second time this season, a first in his 10-year career.
• Today was his shortest outing with the Sox.
As to what happens now, it's anybody's guess. There are four options:
1. Keep him in the rotation.
2. Put him in the bullpen.
3. Put him on the disabled list.
4. Release him.
“Just continue to work hard. I’ve made a lot of adjustments, kind of on the fly,” Lackey said. “Some of those will hopefully turn into some results here soon."
Releasing him makes no sense. Lackey is 32 and has $53.38 million left on his deal. He has pitched once out of the bullpen in 373 professional games since he signed with the Angels. Who knows how that would work?
The options are rotation or DL. Stay tuned.
Lackey seemed a bit resigned today in his postgame press conference. There was none of the anger we've seen in the past (of course, that could have as much to do with his not being asked the same question three times today) and more of a sense of his not being sure what to say.
While his Boston tenure has been a disaster, this is still the same guy who was 102-71, 3.81 with the Angels, made the All-Star team and led the league in ERA. He has a World Series ring and a 3.12 ERA in 14 playoff games.
Baseball is full of stories about struggling pitchers who came back to be valuable contributors. At this point, the Sox have to hope Lackey can join that list.
Two more notes:
• Jacoby Ellsbury matched his career high with four hits. He also reached 500 career hits in the first inning with a single. Ellsbury hit that milestone in 432 games. Only two Red Sox outfielders reached 500 hits quicker. Ted Williams needed 385 games and Dom DiMaggio 428 games.
• The Sox are 49-35 after 84 games for the second straight season.
Can't believe we had nearly 450 comments on a holiday today. Thanks so much for reading,
Back at it tomorrow.