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Red Sox Notebook

Buchholz start is pushed back

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / June 6, 2011

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Clay Buchholz is worried about his sore lower back enough that the Red Sox would rather he not face the Yankees Wednesday.

The righthander is being pushed back two days and will start against the Blue Jays in Toronto Friday. The Sox now will pitch Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield, and Josh Beckett against the Yankees.

New York will start Freddy Garcia, A.J. Burnett, and CC Sabathia.

Buchholz had tightness in his lower back during his start against the Tigers May 29 and pitched with a degree of caution against the Athletics Friday. Pitching coach Curt Young noticed that Buchholz was not fully extending as he released pitches.

As a result, perhaps, he allowed eight earned runs over 10 2/3 innings in those two games.

Young and manager Terry Francona met with Buchholz twice Saturday. Buchholz came away both times saying he wanted to pitch as scheduled on Wednesday.

But after talking it over again with Young and head trainer Mike Reinold, the decision was made to push him back.

“I just think it makes sense,’’ Francona said. “Give him a couple of extra days and I bet it will really help him.’’

Wakefield is 11-17 with a 4.90 earned run average in 56 career appearances against the Yankees. He is 2-1, 4.30 over the last four years in 11 appearances, six starts.

Matsuzaka slips away Daisuke Matsuzaka’s arrival at Fenway Park in 2006 was a celebration orchestrated by the Red Sox that was covered by hundreds of reporters and on live television around the world.

Matsuzaka even took the field on a cold day and threw a pitch to Sox owner John Henry as agent Scott Boras looked on, nodding in approval.

At 11:45 a.m. yesterday, Matsuzaka stood in the middle of the clubhouse and spoke to eight reporters about the reconstructive elbow surgery that could well end his career with the team after five seasons that did not meet expectations. Teammates passed by without glancing up. No team executives were present.

Matsuzaka is expected to have the surgery later this week in California and miss 12-14 months.

“It’s my first time to get an operation and all I can say is I’m very shocked as one comes to this result,’’ Matsuzaka said via interpreter Kenta Yamada.

Matsuzaka said he was “anxious’’ about the surgery and hoped to return as soon as he could.

At several points during the brief interview, Red Sox Japanese media liaison Mikio Yoshimura corrected the interpretation being done by Yamada as Matsuzaka stood between them looking back and forth.

Yoshimura tried to cut off questions before Matsuzaka was asked how he assessed his time with the Red Sox given that he may not pitch for them again. His contract expires after next season.

“I don’t think in that way,’’ Matsuzaka said. “For sure, I hope I come back to the game again with a Red Sox uniform. If I wouldn’t come back to the game, I will have to talk about it.’’

Matsuzaka is 49-30 with a 4.25 ERA with the Red Sox, who paid a $51.1 million fee for the rights to negotiate what proved to be a $52 million contract with him.

A true specialist Rookie lefthander Tommy Hottovy pitched in all three games against the A’s and faced David DeJesus three times. He got a ground ball to second Friday, a double-play grounder to short Saturday, and a grounder to second yesterday. Hottovy entered yesterday’s game in the seventh inning and walked Ryan Sweeney on four pitches before getting DeJesus to end the inning . . . The Red Sox are 4-1 against Oakland this season. The teams meet again at Fenway Aug. 26-28 . . . The Sox are 14-6 in day games, the third-best record in the majors . . . Dan Wheeler has not allowed a run in 5 2/3 innings since coming off the disabled list. He threw a scoreless eighth . . . Adrian Gonzalez hit safely in all six games on the homestand at 11 for 26 with three home runs and five RBIs . . . Sox relievers threw 15 2/3 innings and 233 pitches in the three-day series.

Reddick optioned To make room for John Lackey on the roster, outfielder Josh Reddick was optioned back to Pawtucket. With Marco Scutaro expected to return from the disabled list tomorrow, the Sox likely will option righthander Scott Atchison back to Pawtucket. Scutaro played his second game for Pawtucket yesterday, starting at second base at Durham, N.C. He went 1 for 3 with a run. Darnell McDonald, also on a rehab assignment, was in right field. McDonald was 0 for 2 with a run . . . Sox legend Johnny Pesky, 91, hasn’t been around the team much this season but he took in the game from a suite and received a warm ovation . . . According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Saturday’s 9-8, 14-inning victory marked the first time at Fenway Park that the Sox won despite blowing a lead of three or more runs in the ninth and falling behind in extra innings . . . Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli visited Francona before the game . . . Oakland reinstated reliever Grant Balfour from the paternity leave list and designated infielder Andy LaRoche for assignment . . . The Cape Cod League announced that ex-Sox third baseman Mike Lowell would be inducted into its Hall of Fame Nov. 19 in Chatham. The class also includes David Bush, Doug Fisher, Scott Kamieniecki, Paul O’Neil, Mark Smith, Eric Wedge, and Bill Wissler.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com.

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