Clay Buchholz won’t be back with the Red Sox any time soon

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While Jon Lester is optimistic that he’ll be able to return as soon as next Friday, we probably won’t see Clay Buchholz back with the Red Sox any time soon.

The rehabbing right-hander was able to play catch yesterday and plans to do so again tomorrow, but he told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald this afternoon that there’s no timetable for his return.

Buchholz showed up to the ballpark today “encased in a massive heating pad” and said he won’t throw off a mound until the muscle strain in his lower back feels closer to 100 percent. He received a cortisone injection in his back when he visited Dr. Craig Brigham in North Carolina last week.

“It’s basically just going to be a feel thing,” Buchholz said. “It’s something that I don’t think I can really rush into or try to do more than I can on that particular day just for the fact that it’s a muscle in my back. It sucks. Obviously, I want to be pitching, I want to help the team in any way I can. Me going out there not 100 percent, or not 80 percent, I don’t think is going to help the team any. I think if I rush back into it, it will be something that will be here for the rest of the season and I don’t want that. I’d rather be ready to pitch at 100 percent and I feel like that’s the way that I can help this team win.”

Buchholz hasn’t pitched since leaving a start against the Rays on June 16. He was 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA and 60/31 K/BB ratio over 14 starts prior to the injury.


Ryan Zimmerman’s spring training has been . . . weird

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.

While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.

Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.

I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.

On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.