Red Sox righthander Clay Buchholz was in Gulf Breeze, Fla., today to meet with Dr. James Andrews. The verdict? Dr. Andrews agrees with the Red Sox that Buchholz has only inflammation in the bursa sac of his shoulder and can pitch without fear of further injury.
"Clay comes back, I think, with a little bit more peace of mind and he'll continue on the throwing program that's been already put in place," Farrell said.
Buchholz threw from 100 feet on Sunday with some intensity and will throw again on Wednesday once he returns to Boston. But Farrell offered no timetable as to when Buchholz will pitch in a minor league game.
Buchholz has not pitched since June 8 because of assorted pain. The issue started out as a soreness in his AC joint in late May then become a strained trapezius muscle when Buchholz took a tumble when covering first.
In time, the Red Sox decided Buchholz has bursitis, or inflammation of a bursa sac. Buchholz threw in the bullpen several times but experienced discomfort when throwing off the mound and never advanced to pitching in a minor league game, or even throwing batting practice.
Buchholz told the team last week that did not want to pitch until he was completely pain free because he feared greater injury.
According to Farrell, Andrews told Buchholz that any discomfort he feels is nothing to be alarmed about.
"From my understanding of the exam and what Dr. Andrews relayed to [Buchholz] is that he's going to feel some, at times, some little stiffness or discomfort just by virtue of getting back in pitching shape," Farrell said. "[Andrews] felt that as [Buchholz] ramps back up, he;s going to experience some of those but the root of it is not because of an injury. It's more just reconditioning and getting the throwing arm back in shape.
"I would think there would be more readiness on his part to push through that."
Now the question is when Buchholz can return to the rotation. It will not be any time soon, however.
"I don't have a date," Farrell said. "We feel like he's going to have to continue to progress in some further distance in long toss before getting on the mound. He's going to need probably three bullpens before we get into a simulated game situation before going out on a rehab start. That's the best I can outline right now."
Given the days off needed between those points on the schedule, Buchholz may not pitch for the Red Sox until sometime in mid-August — and that's assuming there aren't more setbacks.
Farrell was asked why the Red Sox waited so long to have Buchholz examined by Dr. Andrews.
"We felt like he had really turned the corner, as did Clay," the manger said. "That was most recently in Seattle [earlier this month]. Then when we got to Oakland, he experienced that one bullpen where he had to shut down."