Sunday, December 8, 2013
NEW YORK (AP) -- Clay Buchholz is ready to rejoin the Boston Red Sox rotation after missing three months with a strained neck.
The right-hander said he threw about 30 pitches in a routine bullpen session Sunday at Yankee Stadium, his final hurdle before starting Tuesday night at Tampa Bay. Struggling left-hander Felix Doubront will be skipped this time through the rotation.
"Just to give him some recovery time, a little added rest, just as we've done with a couple of other guys in the rotation," manager John Farrell said.
Buchholz will be followed by Ryan Dempster and Jake Peavy against the second-place Rays. Farrell said he probably would prefer not to use Doubront out of the bullpen right now.
"I think for this time through we'll stay away from him for now just to give him, we feel, the rest needed," Farrell said.
Before the game, Farrell said the decision would be based on which starter is most effective right now, not which one would transition best to the bullpen.
Buchholz opened 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 12 starts this season and was selected to the All-Star team. He hasn't pitched in the majors since beating the Los Angeles Angels on June 8.
Buchholz made three rehab starts in the minors, the final one on Thursday in a playoff game for Triple-A Pawtucket. Farrell said Buchholz should be able to throw 75-80 pitches Tuesday.
"We're hopeful we get a guy that's close to what he was prior to the injury, and it would be an additional lift to this rotation," Farrell said.
Meanwhile, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury has a broken right foot, leaving the AL East leaders without a key offensive catalyst as they try to wrap up the division title.
Farrell says the team believes Ellsbury will be back this year, and hopes it will be during the regular season. But there is no specific timetable for his return, and the speedy leadoff hitter will keep wearing a protective boot on his injured foot for five days.
Ellsbury had an MRI on Saturday and returned to Boston for further examination. Then he went to Colorado to get a second opinion from foot specialist Dr. Thomas Clanton at The Steadman Clinic. Farrell says tests confirmed the diagnosis of a compression fracture, which means it's non-displaced.
Ellsbury leads the majors with 52 stolen bases. He is batting .299 and has scored a team-high 89 runs.