It’s clear that David Price will be the No. 1 starter for the Boston Red Sox this season, but the rest of the five-man rotation still is in flux.
Clay Buchholz will figure into the rotation somehow, possibly even as the No. 2 starter. But, if his spring training debut Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles is any sign, the right-hander still has some work to do before he takes the ball in his first meaningful game since July 10, 2015.
Buchholz allowed four runs and three hits while walking three over 1 1/3 innings during Boston’s 8-7 win.
“I felt like that was one of the first times I’ve been out there in eight months or so,” Buchholz told reporters, via MLB.com. “Went out there knowing I was just going to be throwing fastball-changeups today, which made it a little bit difficult, because I set up a couple of guys for a curveball or cutter at points, and I was only able to make those two pitches, so I tried to make those two pitches a little bit too good.”
Injuries again were a factor for Buchholz in 2015, as he started only 18 games and pitched just 113 1/3 innings before being shut down in July.
“It’s one of those things that whenever you get hurt, it stinks to sit on the bench and watch your team battle or go through tough stretches or good stretches. I want to be a part of it,” Buchholz said. “That’s what we’re doing here. That’s why I got down here early, to make sure everything is ready to go and nothing crazy happens here at camp and get to Cleveland on (for Opening Day) and go from there.”
Let’s take a look at some other Red Sox notes:
— Defense only was part of the problem for Hanley Ramirez last season. The former outfielder started off hot at the plate, but his offensive numbers nosedived before he battled his own injury issues.
Most of the talk surrounding Ramirez is his move to first base, but his offense has been a bright spot so far this spring. Ramirez is 4-for-8 from the plate in his first three Grapefruit League games, which includes a 2-for-2 afternoon Sunday against the Orioles.
“We’re just trying to find our timing and be nice and easy, try to be short to the ball and let the ball travel a little,” Ramirez told reporters, via MLB.com. “Just one swing and one click, and then you’re right there. That’s what I need. Today I was feeling good. But it’s early. We’ve got to continue to work.”
— Like Buchholz and Ramirez, Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez also dealt with injuries last year. However, his path back has been more of an uphill climb after he missed the 2015 season following Tommy John surgery.
But Vazquez is expected to be back behind the plate Tuesday when Boston travels to face Baltimore in spring training action.
“All the credit goes to him,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters, via MLB.com. “Certainly the people who have rehabbed him, repaired the ligament. But the work he’s put in, the diligence he’s paid to the throwing program, all the rehab, the way he’s conditioned and reshaped his body — kudos to Christian and all the work he’s put in.”
Farrell expects Vazquez to catch two or three innings against the Orioles.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz