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.

 

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.