Clay Buchholz will see esteemed spine surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins on Monday to get another opinion on his ailing back, according to Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
The club is hoping that Watkins will not find any structural damage in a back that was originally diagnosed as a strain, but has been slow to get better. If there is something structurally wrong, it might require surgery, hence the team's supposed increasing activity in pursuit of another starting pitcher at the trade deadline.
Buchholz last pitched June 16 in Tampa Bay. He left that start after five innings because of pain in his lower back, and it’s been a grind to just get him through throwing sessions without soreness ever since.
The righty had a mound session Monday at Fenway Park and was slated to throw another Wednesday, but that was put off. That’s when concern over structural damage began to grow. Francona, speaking at Fenway this week, said "It's not been the simplest muscle strain."
Buchholz has looked strong in his limited opportunities to throw. The pain often hits after each session, which presents concern as to whether he would be able to recover from a start and get in his side work prior to his next outing.
Watkins has seen several professional athletes. He handled Randy Johnson multiple times when the future Hall of Famer had back problems during his career.