Monday, January 22, 2018

Boston's Buchholz cleared to return against Rays

NEW YORK — RHP Clay Buchholz is ready to rejoin the Red Sox rotation after missing three months with a strained neck and is scheduled to start Tuesday night against the Rays.

Buchholz said he threw about 30 pitches in a routine bullpen session Sunday at Yankee Stadium, his final hurdle before his start at Tropicana Field. Struggling LHP 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 RHPs Ryan Dempster and Jake Peavy against Tampa Bay. 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.

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 Angels on June 8.

Buchholz made three rehab starts in the minors, the final one 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.

Boston has a hefty lead in the AL East. Buchholz said he wants to get in peak form in time for a potential trip to the postseason.

"I want to make sure that I'm ready for that," Buchholz said, adding that his body should feel fresher than most other pitchers because of all the time off.

Also, examinations confirmed that Red Sox CF Jacoby Ellsbury has a broken right foot. Farrell said the team believes the leadoff hitter will be back this year and hopes it will be during the regular season, though there is no specific timetable for his return.

Ellsbury will keep wearing a protective boot on his injured foot for five days. "After that, we'll see how he responds to treatment and how he's feeling," Farrell said.

JETER OUT: Yankees SS Derek Jeter was out of the lineup with soreness in his surgically repaired left ankle. Manager Joe Girardi said Jeter probably will be held out for a couple of days before further evaluation. Girardi said he is concerned about the lingering injury, but there is no thought about shutting Jeter down for the rest of the season at this point.

TESTS FOR HARPER: Nationals OF Bryce Harper flew back to Washington for further tests on his ailing left hip. Harper aggravated the hip during batting practice Saturday night.

CLOSING IN: Former major-leaguer Wladimir Balentien hit his 53rd home run of the season to move within two of Japanese baseball's season record. Balentien has 23 regular-season games with the Yakult Swallows to reach the record held by Sadaharu Oh in 1964, Tuffy Rhodes in 2001 and Alex Cabrera in 2002.

ASTROS: RHP Paul Clemens was scratched from his scheduled start because of a blister on his pitching hand.

GIANTS: C Buster Posey was back in the starting lineup after sitting out four games with a small fracture at the tip of his right ring finger.

MARLINS: RF Giancarlo Stanton was out of the lineup because of soreness in his right foot and ankle. X-rays taken Saturday were negative.

METS: RHP Matt Harvey will have his sore right elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews to determine if he needs reconstructive surgery.

PIRATES: RHP Charlie Morton left with discomfort in his left foot in the second inning.


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