Clay Buchholz hasn’t pitched in a game since June 8 due to shoulder problems. And six weeks later, it’s still not clear when he’ll be ready to return to the Red Sox.
Buchholz felt renewed soreness during a bullpen session on Sunday and didn’t pick up a baseball during the All-Star break. Red Sox manager John Farrell told Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston that the injured right-hander is now slated to be re-examined by team orthopedist Peter Asnis on Friday.
“We have every intention and hope and outlook that he will resume pitching this season,” Farrell said Thursday, where the Red Sox held a voluntary workout. “I wish I could give you an exact date, to be honest with you. And Clay would, too.”
Buchholz isn’t scheduled to undergo an MRI at this time, but Farrell indicated that Asnis could deem one necessary. Even if he receives good news, he’ll have to start his throwing program from square one. That means his absence will likely stretch well into August.
Buchholz has a 1.71 ERA and 81/29 K/BB ratio over 84 1/3 innings in 12 starts this season. With his status in doubt, the Red Sox could be on the lookout for a starting pitcher leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”
There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.
It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:
On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.
“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”
One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.
None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”