Clay Buchholz Exits Start With Neck Stiffness, Says ‘I Didn’t Want to Push My Luck’

Clay BuchholzBOSTON — Clay Buchholz was excellent in six-plus innings of work on Saturday. His night still ended prematurely, though.

Buchholz left Saturday’s start with two outs in the seventh inning because of neck stiffness. The right-hander said he started feeling discomfort following a play in the sixth inning in which a ball ricocheted off his glove.

“A little nagging there for a couple of innings,” Buchholz said of his injury. “It was right after that ball that hit off my glove. When I threw it to first base, that’s when it sort of tightened up a little bit. I figured that when I got the double-play ball [in the seventh inning] and didn’t turn it, I figured that was enough. I didn’t want to push my luck.”

Buchholz, who also tumbled to the ground while making a play in the fourth inning, knocked down a line drive off the bat of Howie Kendrick in the sixth. The ball hit near the palm of Buchholz’s glove, and the righty then tossed the glove aside before chasing down the ball behind the mound and firing to first base in an unsuccessful attempt to throw out Kendrick. Manager John Farrell and members of the Red Sox’ training staff came out after the play to check on Buchholz, but the righty ultimately stuck around until the next inning.

“He stiffened up on the right side of the neck from the play at first base [in the fourth inning] that you alluded to as well as the line drive back up the middle where he had a quick reaction,” Farrell said. “It was almost a combination of a couple of things that led to the stiffness here. We don’t feel at this point that it’s any way related to the AC irritation that he was feeling previous. He’ll go through a full exam tonight and I’m sure once he arrives at the ballpark tomorrow.”

Buchholz skipped a start recently because of an issue with his AC joint, located near the collarbone.

Buchholz allowed just two runs during his 6 2/3 innings on Saturday, and he helped guide the Red Sox to a 7-2 victory, which salvaged a split of the doubleheader.

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