PAWTUCKET, R.I. — The parade Clay Buchholz and Will Middlebrooks planned to take back to Boston wasn’t just rained on. It was rained out.
Buchholz was scheduled to make a rehab start Friday night for the Pawtucket Red Sox against the Charlotte Knights, and Middlebrooks was penciled in to bat fourth as the designated hitter. But a downpour forced a postponement that will be made up as part of a Saturday doubleheader at McCoy Stadium, starting at 5:05 p.m.
Buchholz will start the first game and is scheduled to go five innings or 60-65 pitches. Middlebrooks will DH. Right fielder Shane Victorino (hamstring) also is expected to play in at least one game Saturday.
A hyperextended left knee landed Buchholz on the disabled list May 27, while Middlebrooks has been on the DL since May 17 after a line drive fractured his right index finger during a game against Detroit.
Buchholz’s ineffectiveness (2-4, 7.02 ERA in 10 starts) may have played a role in Boston’s decision to have him rehab at Pawtucket. In addition to working on his mechanics, Buchholz can restore his confidence.
‘I wasn’t doing my job up there.’
“Confidence comes from results,” Buchholz said after the postponement. “First and foremost in this game you’re judged off results, even when people say results don’t matter. Sometimes it’s about winning games. If you don’t win games it has to be pointed toward somebody.
“I wasn’t doing my job up there and putting the team in position to win games consistently. That’s what this was about. The only way you’re going to gain confidence is when you get back to that level and produce and have the results that you want.”
How proficient Buchholz is in tweaking his mechanics may go a long way toward determining if he’ll be able to pitch his way back into Boston’s rotation.
“It gets to the point where at the beginning of the stuff you’re trying to fix or change, if you have to think about it a long way, that’s why the bullpens help out a lot,” he said. “When it becomes second nature, that’s whenever you bring it into a game and not have to think about it. That’s where I feel like I’m at right now.”
Middlebrooks, who’s making his second rehab appearance this season with Pawtucket, was hitting only .197 in 21 games when he suffered the fracture.
“I’m working on flexibility and getting it straightened out,” Middlebrooks said while displaying a crooked right index finger. “At least it’s my top hand so it’s not squished in there. I just can leave it off the bat if I need to.
“Throwing is going to be my biggest test. I’ve thrown the past couple of days and it’s pretty sore. But what do you expect? It’s only been three weeks. Throwing probably is worse because I don’t have to have it all the way on the bat.”
Middlebrooks has set realistic goals during this rehab stint.
“I haven’t seen a whole lot of pitching this year,” Middlebrooks said. “I need to get timing. I need to get comfortable and get in a rhythm.”