Scott Labuer of the Boston Herald shares the big news:
NEW YORK — Clay Buchholz’ long nightmare is over.
After missing three months with a shoulder injury that seemed like it would never heal, Buchholz is slated to start Tuesday night’s series opener against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. As one final tuneup, he threw a bullpen session here today.
Buchholz opened the season 9-0 with a dominant 1.71 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 81/29 K/BB ratio over his first 84 1/3 innings, but he hasn’t appeared in a major league game since June 8.
“Mentally I’m ready,” Buchholz told reporters after his bullpen session Sunday morning at Yankee Stadium. “I think that’s what everyone was questioning — mental toughness and everything. But I know my body better than everybody else does. I’m comfortable pitching now. There’s nothing wrong that’s come up.”
Boston entered play Sunday with a huge 8.5-game lead in the American League East standings.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.