Clay Buchholz spent most of his offseason resting. When he did throw, however, it caught the attention of Boston Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves.
Nieves stopped by the University of Texas over the offseason and watched Buchholz play catch with teammate Brandon Workman, according to WEEI.com. Nieves liked what he saw from Buchholz, who pitched through an injury in the World Series that resulted diminished velocity.
“It was very encouraging watching him and Workman throw,” Nieves told WEEI.com’s Alex Speier. “The last image you had from Buch was, of course, the game [Game 4] in St. Louis. He was not running on all gears, of course. So I thought when he was throwing casually, it was very encouraging. He got out to about 90, 95 feet with Workman. It was nice the way the ball was coming out of the hand.
“It was very encouraging to fly out there, see him play catch and be really quick, play some catch. The comment after was, ‘Great.’ Very excited about him. I was very excited, encouraged to see him and Workman play catch, and how free and easy the ball was coming out.”
Buchholz, who was limited to 16 regular season starts last season because of neck and shoulder issues, lasted four innings in Game 4 of the World Series. He held the Cardinals to one unearned run on three hits, although the right-hander clearly wasn’t himself because of his ailment.
Buchholz told reporters in Fort Myers on Monday that he’s now fully healthy following an offseason with ample rest. It’s an encouraging sign for the Red Sox, whose rotation obviously is much better with a healthy Buchholz in the mix.