Clay Buchholz’s Latest Delay Not Worrisome, But Could Alter Plan Prior to Trade Deadline

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Clay Buchholz's Latest Delay Not Worrisome, But Could Alter Plan Prior to Trade Deadline Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein recently said that the player he most wants at the trade deadline is a healthy Clay Buchholz.

Each year, while big names get tossed around in rumors that run rampant leading up to July 31, many teams sing this tune. They look at their injured players, see a return date around the deadline, and find themselves content with just getting those players healthy once again.

Often times, those are the best "acquisitions," for you know what you have.

In the case of Epstein?s club, Jon Lester, who came off the disabled list on Monday night, could be lumped in with this scenario. However, with Buchholz?s latest delay, the deadline will come and go with the team still unable able to map out a concrete timetable for his return.

Buchholz was tentatively scheduled to throw an extended side session Wednesday at the park. It was going to include an increase in workload and an uptick in intensity. In the words of manager Terry Francona, the team was going to ?turn him loose.?

However, the right-hander instead is going to see another specialist to discuss the status of his troublesome back at some point over the weekend. Francona insisted the delay is not because of anything new that has occurred, calling Buchholz?s quick throwing session on Monday "a really good day." But if one considers another session or two before a rehab stint that includes two or three starts, and the fact that there could always be more delays, it simply pushes Buchholz back more and more.

Buchholz will pitch again this year. But he will not be the ?deadline acquisition? that Epstein wants, unless that deadline is a random date in the middle or end of August. The question remains: Does this scenario prompt Epstein to be more active in any efforts to acquire another starting pitcher?

The consensus has been that Epstein?s need for another arm is dependent on Buchholz?s timetable. The difficult outing by Andrew Miller on Tuesday night only reinforced the need for the star righty to return.  If this latest issue hampers the team?s ability to turn Buchholz loose, then it might be time for Epstein to do so on his end.

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