Clay Buchholz pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings for Triple A Pawtucket on Sunday afternoon at McCoy Stadium, striking out three, walking two and allowing one hit vs. the Syracuse Chiefs.
On the disabled list since June 20 with a gastrointestinal bleed that caused him to spend five days in the hospital, Buchholz had thrown consecutive bullpen sessions before the scheduled rehab start with the PawSox. He has not pitched in the majors since June 19.
“Physically, felt good,” Buchholz said. “Felt like just going out there warming up I was going to get tired pretty quick, but it never happened. I caught a second wind about 15 pitches into the first inning. That kept me all the way through the next two.
“Everything was good. Little rusty there in the first command wasn’t all that well with the fastball, but was able to throw my curveball for strikes.”
Buchholz reached his 40-pitch limit after recording the first out of the third inning. He finished with 43 pitches, 20 for strikes.
In the first, he walked Syracuse leadoff hitter Corey Brown on five pitches, and loaded the bases after a single by Jarrett Hoffpauir and a full-count walk to Chris Marrero. He then induced a flyout to left and got Jesus Valdez swinging, Buchholz’s second strikeout of the inning.
“I wanted to work on fastball command, but it was useless going 2-0 to a hitter and having to throw something else,” Buchholz said. “Got off the fastball there to a couple hitters, just tried to stick with offspeed stuff and locate that, because I’m going to have to do that as well.”
Buchholz pitched a perfect second, getting Carlos Rivero to pop out to first, Carlos Maldonado to strike out looking, and Seth Bynum on a groundout to short.
“I saw him, luckily the game was on TV; he looked pretty much the way we needed him to look for those 40 pitches,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “I’m glad he did it, got his spikes wet in Triple-A, and he’s confident that he’ll be able to give us some length on the second game out; and so is the staff.”
Buchholz is scheduled to pitch against the Rays next weekend.
“To my knowledge, that’s what I’m thinking,” Buchholz said. “I think I’m going to do something here at some point during the break, just to see some hitters again, build the pitch count to 55 or so.”