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Clay Buchholz believes he’s going to be traded

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It’s no secret that Clay Buchholz is the odd man out in Boston. He pitched mopup duty last night — the ninth inning when his team was up by 11 — and before that he hadn’t pitched since July 2. He’s been kicked out of the rotation twice and isn’t trusted in the bullpen during this, his worst season as a big leaguer. Junichi Tazawa was just activated too, which will reduce what little role he actually has left.

Buchholz knows it too. Here’s what he tells Rob Bradford of WEEI:

“If this is the way the team is going to be as far as the rotation part of it … I feel like the guys they’re rolling out there, I don’t have a spot. I’m the odd man out.”

Does he think he’ll be traded?

“I’m not sure. I don’t know. Not having pitched in a while I felt like something has be going on. I’m just trying to stay as sharp as I can and that’s why I’ve been throwing on the side. I have to stay somewhat stretched out.”

It’s quite a fall for Buchholz who, at one time, was the ace of the staff. Now he looks like a guy a team that is probably going to the playoffs is seeking to unload to make room for relievers with half of his fame and pay check. That’s gotta be a hard pill to swallow.

Buchholz’s best bet: he gets traded to a non-contender who is content to put him in the rotation and let him sink or swim. If he swims, that club may decide to exercise the $13.5 million club option on Buchholz’s deal for 2017. Short of that, he’s going to be a free agent after the season who will face a tough market despite the fact that the free agent market looks really thin this year.

Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife gives birth

Zack Wheeler miss starts
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Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.

Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”

Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.

The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.