FORT MYERS, Fla. — Clay Buchholz threw 37 pitches in a two-inning simulated game on Saturday. He is expected to slot into the Red Sox rotation next week.
Buchholz threw 21 pitches in the first inning then 16 in the second. He faced Juan Carlos Linares and Mike Carp.
Carp had a good swing on Buchholz in the first inning but the righthander was otherwise sharp. His fastball command was less precise in the second inning. But when he missed, he missed low.
"Felt really good," Buchholz said. "The one thing that we need to sit and work on is [pitching] out of the stretch. Didn’t really get to go in depth with it. There’s definitely some kinks in the delivery. Other than that, felt strong."
Buchholz warmed up like he normally would. He then sat down a bit before throwing six warm-up pitches like he would before an inning. Then he faced the hitters.
Ben Cherington, John Farrell and a host of team officials were there to watch. Teammates Daniel Bard, Ryan Dempster and John Lackey also watched. Bard and Dempster threw bullpen sessions later on.
Buchholz didn't seem to have any problems with his right hamstring.
"If it were midseason and I needed to pitch, then I could pitch. We’re treating this like we have two extra weeks," Buchholz said. "There’s no rush for me to get back. I’m still going to have six, maybe seven, outings in the spring before we head north. I don’t think there’s going to be anything holding me back."
Lefthander Franklin Morales threw an inning in the sim game. He threw 23 pitches.
• Daniel Nava will play first base in today's game when he comes off the bench. The Red Sox like the way he looks at the position.
• Mike Napoli has felt no pain in his hips despite his being diagnosed with avascular necrosis. But the Red Sox will not use Napoli to catch this season unless an emergency arises, Farrell said.
Napoli did more one-on-one work with Brian Butterfield this morning. He will run the bases for the first time on Sunday.
• Xander Bogaerts leaves tonight for the WBC. He will fly to Taiwan via New York to join the Dutch. The other Red Sox players in the WBC will leave March 2 or 3.
Shane Victorino is playing for the WBC. RHP Jose De La Torre is with Puerto Rico. RHPs Alfredo Aceves and Oscar Villareal are with Mexico. Villareal was a late addition to the Mexican team.
Victorino will play every other day until he leaves. So he could get in four game or so.
• Jonny Gomes and David Ross weren't hunting alligators on Friday after practice. They took an airboat ride out into the swamps to look for the. "One big one came right up to the boat," Ross said. "That was interesting."
• LHP Craig Breslow is close to starting his throwing program. That will happen this weekend.
(Note, this post was updated at 1:01 p.m. with Buchholz's comments).