Spring training marks the start of another baseball season and another setback for Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz, who suffered a freak injury during his first official workout of the year.
The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham reported that the right-handed Buchholz mildly strained a hamstring while attempting to pick up a baseball during a practice drill.
Buchholz was upbeat that the injury wasn't serious:
It's the best thing that it happened now and not when we're getting ready to pitch in games. As far as they told, it's mild as it can be. For how I'm looking at it, get here early and do the treatment on it and hopefully I'm back in the next four or five days.
Buchholz further elaborated his situation to the Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber:
It's pinpointed and there's no spread of any kind of soreness anywhere. They said they wouldn't even classify it as a pulled muscle. It was more of a strain. I'd rather it happen now than happen when we're getting ready to throw in games and stuff. Get it taken care of, and I'll be back in a couple days.
Manager John Farrell confirmed that the team is hopeful about the severity of the injury, according to WEEI’s Mike Petraglia. The skipper said, “it was tough to get him [Buchholz] off the field,” and admitted that Boston is being cautious at this point to avoid a more prolonged absence.
What will become of this Buchholz injury?
Farrell went on to say that the location of the injury was in the “best possible” area for recovery, and that the pitcher would receive multiple daily treatments in an effort to get him back as quickly as possible.
While Buchholz isn’t expected to miss his first spring training start, there’s reason to be a little anxious until he can prove he is able to take the mound again.
The 2005 first-round draft choice has been maddeningly inconsistent and injury-prone during his tenure with Boston.
His best year came in 2010, when he went 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA in 28 starts, leading to a berth on the AL All-Star Team and a sixth-place finish in the Cy Young race.
Unfortunately, there have also been a number of injuries and struggles in the midst of his successes.
Buchholz made 29 starts last year, and struggled with an 8-2 mark and a 5.53 ERA during the first half. He was greatly improved at 3-6 with a 3.76 ERA in the second half of the season, despite the Red Sox floundering badly as a team with a 28-56 record.
Even with the setback, Buchholz was lighthearted about his setback, as Petraglia quoted him explaining how the injury occurred:
I don’t know, I used to be pretty athletic and used to be able to do agility stuff. …
It was just a matter of doing all those sprints yesterday and being a little tight and maybe not stretching as much as I need to. Lesson learned. I’ll be stretching every day now as much as I can.
It won’t be a joking matter if Buchholz is unable to bounce back as quickly as hoped. The Red Sox finished 12th in the AL in team ERA last year, and will need a marked improvement from their staff if they hope to contend in 2013.
The only thing Buchholz and Boston fans can do right now is to wait and hope for a quick recovery. If all goes as planned, Buchholz will be back on the mound within the week and put his ignominious start to the season behind him.
Statistics via BaseballReference