Clay Buchholz can relate to Eduardo Rodriguez.
Buchholz, an established veteran in the midst of his ninth major league season with the Boston Red Sox, once walked a mile in Rodriguez’s shoes. He, too, was a hot-shot prospect who found early success, only to then have his mettle tested after falling on hard times.
“More so just to clear his mind,” Buchholz said after Thursday’s game, according to WEEI.com. “His stuff plays. That was one of the things that was hard for me coming up. Whenever I ran into some tough times, you start doubting yourself, and that’s the last thing you want to do at this point.
“More just stay confident,” Buchholz added of his advice. “His stuff is good. He’s going to be fine. If there’s anything within the delivery that is out of sorts or whatever, we’ll work on fixing it and go from there.”
Buchholz went over some video with Rodriguez after the rookie’s most recent start. The 22-year-old has immense potential and already has shown flashes of being an excellent big league pitcher, but it’s important to keep things in perspective. Rodriguez still is young and developing, meaning advice from veterans, like Buchholz, could go a long way toward easing a difficult transition.
“This game, it’s a faster pace than the minor leagues,” Buchholz said. “Competition from minor leagues to the big leagues — there’s a lot of good players in Triple-A, but here there’s constant study on your delivery, if there’s any sort of thing they can hint on to cancel out pitches.
“There’s a couple of things we’re going to sit down and look at over the next couple of days just to look and clear his mind because it’s not easy going out there, especially the first three innings (Thursday) throwing as well as he did and then something happen like that.”
Buchholz might not be an ace, though he certainly has been pitching like a front-line starter of late. And Rodriguez might be able to figure out some things on his own at the highest level. But Buchholz has been in Rodriguez’s situation before.
The young left-hander would be wise to heed his older teammate’s advice.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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