We won’t know for sure until late Monday, or perhaps even later in the week, the true condition of Clay Buchholz‘s back and his chances to return this season. But Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein seems to have a pretty reasonable expectation.
Epstein expressed concern for Buchholz’s condition in a conference call with reporters Sunday evening in the wake of his trade for left-hander Erik Bedard — a move made necessary by Buchholz’s situation. Although Epstein’s one major move before the deadline came in the final minute, he had been headed down this path ever since Buchholz had a setback early last week.
“Anytime a pitcher of his caliber is not on the mound for a while, throws a side, as he did, on Monday but can’t necessarily back it up with another side and get out there on a rehab assignment, there’s some concern,” Epstein said. “We think we’re in the process of getting to the bottom of it.”
Earlier, Epstein discussed the acquisition of Bedard as a must, given the circumstances.
“We thought looking at our club that we certainly needed to add a starting pitcher, if nothing else for depth purposes,” Epstein said. “That was the best way we could impact the club right now.”
The club has expressed hope that Buchholz can return at some point. The earliest that can occur is Aug. 16, when he is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list, to which he was transferred to make room for Bedard on the 40-man roster. In all likelihood, it will take place long after that, if at all.
Buchholz will be in Los Angeles on Monday to see esteemed spine surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins.