Clay Buchholz may pitch on three days' rest for the first time in his career Wednesday against Tampa Bay, manager Terry Francona announced.
Buchholz threw 95 pitches in five innings of a 3-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday afternoon. He was taken out to avoid overworking him and spoiling any chance he had of pitching in what could be a critical game against the wild card-leading Rays.
"You send him back out you're looking at making him work to the point where it's probably not realistic that we would have a chance to do that," Francona said of the decision to limit Buchholz to five innings.
The rainout Friday at Fenway Park bumped Buchholz back a day to start the first half of Saturday's doubleheader. If Boston is going to have any chance at making a late charge in the wild card race a sweep of Tampa Bay is needed, so sparing Buchholz on Saturday at least gives Francona the chance of throwing his best starter against the Rays.
Buchholz said he pitched on three days' rest as a schoolboy but this will be a whole different beast. For that reason, he will have to see how his body responds to the quick turnaround. The club will make an official announcement at a later date.
"I tried it in high school a couple of times but not at this magnitude," said the 26-year-old, whose league-leading ERA rose slightly to 2.25 after giving up two runs in five innings against the White Sox. "I'm just going to let them know how my body feels over the next couple of days and we'll make that decision."
Buchholz was pitching on six days' rest Saturday. He is now 4-6 with a 4.17 ERA in such affairs. The All-Star is 14-8 with a 4.09 ERA on regular rest and 8-5 with a 2.63 mark with five days to prepare.
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