FORT MYERS, Fla. — Clay Buchholz was not sharp against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, giving up a run on three hits and a walk in one inning. He also pitched at a maddeningly slow pace.
But what mattered most was how physically good Buchholz felt walking back to the dugout.
Buchholz was anxious to test the strength of his right shoulder in his spring training debut. Playing catch and throwing in the bullpen offered only so much feedback.
“It feels completely different than it did the last month and half, two months of last year. That’s what I want it to feel like coming into camp. Now just need to keep working,” said Buchholz, who spent three months on the disabled list last season.
The Red Sox, who lost, 8-0, planned to have Buchholz go to the bullpen and keep throwing after the first inning. But the 26 pitches he threw were deemed sufficient.
“It was good to see Clay back on the mound,” manager John Farrell said. “He showed decent arm strength. I don’t want to make too much of an inning of work. But he was able to go through an extended bullpen, almost simulating an inning. In some ways today was like two innings of work for him. A good starting point.”
Buchholz said his velocity got up to 92-93. Scouts in the stands said it was a few ticks lower than that. But it was certainly higher than the low-wattage stuff he featured in Game 4 of the World Series.
“Velocity is creeping back up to where I need it to be. No problems throughout,” Buchholz said.