Bulked-Up Clay Buchholz Arrives at Fort Myers Eyeing Spot in Red Sox’ Rotation

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February 15, 2010

Bulked-Up Clay Buchholz Arrives at Fort Myers Eyeing Spot in Red Sox' Rotation Last year, Clay Buchholz looked more and more like a major leaguer on the mound. This spring, he's taking that a step further.

The 25-year-old, fresh off an offseason in which he got married to Deal Or No Deal model Lindsay Clubine, comes into camp about 10 pounds heavier than his listed weight of 190. For a kid that looked like he didn't always lick the plate clean at supper, it's probably a good thing.

Both The Boston Globe's Amalie Benjamin and WEEI's Rob Bradford reported Buchholz arrived at camp at 198 pounds — up a good deal from last year's spring weight of 185. Benjamin noted that he made the effort to eat three meals a day instead of two during the offseason. And though the Globe's Peter Abraham noted that Buchholz's third pitch accidentally sailed over a fence, Buchholz said he is looking at the crowded rotation as a chance to once again win a spot.

"You've got six guys coming in for five starting spots. It should be another fun spring training," he told WEEI.com. "I?ve been through a couple of things throughout my professional career. I wouldn?t be shocked for anything to happen. I?ve got to go at it like it?s a spot to win instead of thinking it?s my spot. Pitch well, and if I do everything like I started doing last year and end up like last year I think everything will be fine."

What he started doing last year was something he couldn't do the year before — establish consistency. For all his flashes of brilliance in 2008, there were more struggles, as he posted a 2-9 record and a 6.75 ERA and struggled mightily with runners on base. After tearing through International League lineups in the first half of last year (7-2, 2.36 ERA), he was a positive contributor in the majors for the second half of the season.

The last time we all saw him on the mound was in Game 3 of the ALDS, where he was effective but not amazing. With Tim Wakefield and Daisuke Matsuzaka in the mix this spring, he'll have to show the team he's taken the next step forward in advancing his career. If his first day at Fort Myers is any indication, he's certainly on his way.

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