Starting for the PawSox against the Syracuse Chiefs, Buchholz gave up three straight singles to start the game in a 23-pitch first inning, hitting 92 m.p.h. on his fastball. He gave up a hit and had a strikeout in a 12-pitch second inning, followed by another 12-pitch inning with another strikeout in the third inning. Buchholz came out for the fourth inning and got through two batters, giving up a hard double to the Chiefs' Chris Rahl before being lifted.
“Tonight I was much more impressed with the velocity that I was able to sustain over the period I was out there and getting over that hump of not really worrying about anything whenever I’m trying to get a fastball down and away to a righty and have something on it,” Buchholz said.
“I was able to throw all my pitches it felt like with the same effort level, same arm angle, so that’s basically the final hump I had to get over as far as not having a second thought in the back of my head. Now it’s just getting that release point down on each of my pitches and obviously not having a long first inning."
Buchholz talked about the mental part of getting back on the mound to face batters in a game situation and reinjuring himself while on the comeback trail.
“If I wouldn’t have had to go through three phases of it, I felt good there for a number of days a couple weeks ago and then felt like it was time to go off the mound and actually reinjured myself doing that so, I did that twice throughout this whole thing,” Buchholz said. “That’s been the frustrating part about it but this is the hardest I’ve tried to throw throughout all this stuff, so definitely a good thing for me.”
In his first rehab start, Aug. 25 with the Lowell Spinners, Buchholz struggled, recording only two outs while giving up three runs (one earned) and walking three batters.
Buchholz hasn’t pitched for the major league club since June 8. He is expected to make one more rehab start Wednesday for playoff-bound Pawtucket, to get to the 65-70 pitch level, before potentially returning to the Red Sox rotation Sept. 10 to face the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. That would put Buchholz on a pace to make four more starts before postseason play begins.
Buchholz was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA on the season for Boston before going down with the shoulder injury.
The PawSox – winners of 16 of their last 19 games – look to clinch their second International League North Division championship in the last three years with a win over Syracuse tonight.