The hot topic this week in Boston will surely be what to do about the crowded Red Sox rotation when John Smoltz comes off the disabled list, but simmering below the surface is the ongoing question of whether Clay Buchholz deserves a spot as well.
The 24-year-old Buchholz has been mowing down Triple A hitters, sporting a 4-0 record and 1.74 ERA in 11 starts with the PawSox. Yet in all the talk about imminent decisions that must be made regarding the Red Sox pitching staff, his name is not really in the conversation, a fact that isn’t lost on Buchholz.
“There’s nowhere to go, it’s sort of a logjam up there and they’re doing what they feel is right up there for the team to win,” Buchholz told NECN’s Mike Giardi over the weekend (video at left). “Whenever they come to a problem they seem like they find a way to fix it without me being in the picture. It is what it is. It’s frustrating at times but I’m going out every fifth day here, trying to help this team win and trying to get better every day I go out.”
Buchholz, whose start with the PawSox was rained out last night and likely pushed to Wednesday, did not demand a trade by any stretch. But he did indicate he would be open to one if it meant an opportunity to pitch in the big leagues.
“All the way up through the system in the minor leagues there wasn’t really that big of a hill that I had to climb … it wasn’t until I got to the big leagues was when I faced [adversity],” Buchholz told Giardi. “I feel like I’m more equipped with everything that I have right now as far as the pitches and the mental aspect and physically healthy to be up there and helping that team. If not that team I want to be in the big leagues and I do want to go somewhere where I’ll be able to play and pitch every fifth day.”
It’s worth noting that righthanders (albeit Triple A righthanders) are hitting a paltry .111 against Buchholz. Major league righties are hitting .419 against struggling Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka this season.
The 22-year-old Michael Bowden (3-3, 2.48 ERA) is another member of the PawSox rotation who could be pitching in the big leagues were he with another organization, but he seems perfectly content, at least for now, waiting for his opportunity with the Red Sox.
“It’s out of my control, and if I can’t control it why worry about it?” Bowden told Giardi (video at left) when asked about his name coming up in trade rumors. “If it happens it happens I understand it’s a business and there will be opportunities elsewhere. But I love this organization and would hate to leave …”
I’d rather stay in the minors an extra year or so to play for Boston, to play in Boston at Fenway with that group of guys.”