As came to be expected after another poor start on Monday in Atlanta, the Red Sox sent Clay Buchholz to the 15-day disabled list, saying the right-hander has a hyperextended left knee.
The decision became official after Buchholz threw in the bullpen Wednesday afternoon, with that session said to be a test to see if he was fit to make Saturday’s scheduled start, though it had seemed the logical next step after he walked eight and yielded six runs over three-plus innings against the Braves.
“When he got into the bullpen, probably about the 18- or 20-pitch mark there was a feeling of instability,” manager John Farrell said. “Can’t say that it’s structural, but when he tried to get increased intensity, and get some finish to pitches, there was that sensation that was being felt. We shut him down at that time. We weren’t going to put him at risk if he felt anything.”
An All-Star last season, Buchholz’s most recent clunker sent his ERA soaring to 7.02, accompanied by a 1.98 WHIP, both of which are baseball’s worst among pitchers who’ve started more than five games this season. In 50 innings he’s allowed 75 hits — as many as he yielded in 108.1 regular-season innings a season ago — and he’s walked 24 more.
Both he and his manager have admitted that his mechanics are out of sorts, with the pitcher also saying that it’s difficult to incorporate the necessary corrections in a major-league game, so the DL stint and its subsequent rehab process should provide Buchholz an opportunity to work through his mechanical issues on the side, then try them out in less-consequential competition against minor-league hitters.
That should begin as soon as he heals from his, ahem, hyperextended knee.
Reliever Alex Wilson was recalled to take Buchholz’s spot on the roster, and was activated in time for Wednesday’s game. It’s his third stint of the season with Boston — but could be another short one. The Sox will need to call up a starter for Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay, with Pawtucket’s Allen Webster the most likely candidate.