When Clay Buchholz threw in Seattle and Oakland, manager John Farrell thought there was reason to be optimistic that his All-Star pitcher was on track to return after being out since June 9 with a neck strain.
But Buchholz came out of those sessions with lingering soreness, which required treatment and medications.
“As that was accumulating, just felt like he wasn’t getting over the hump,” Farrell said.
Buchholz didn’t pick up a ball over the All-Star break, and Farrell said he will be examined on Friday, with the hope that he could resume throwing this weekend.
“He wasn’t having any issues with throwing long toss and intensity on flat ground and even with some shortened-up flat-ground work,” Farrell said. “Once he got on the mound, whether it was consecutive outings or consecutive work sessions of that intensity, that’s where he felt like things were starting to take a step back a little bit and as a result that’s why there was some additional anti-inflammatory medications given, trying to get him past that plateau that he’s hit.”
When asked if there were doubts about whether Buchholz would return this season, Farrell couldn’t give a definite answer.
“We have every intention and hope and outlook that he will resume pitching this season,” Farrell said. “I wish I could give you an exact date, though, to be honest with you. And I know Clay would, too. There’s no one more frustrated in this than Clay. That needs to be made clear. This is a guy, he’s a strong competitor. He recognizes that situation we’re in and he wants to be on the mound. That’s the bottom line, but at the same time, his body’s telling him one thing.”
Meanwhile, Stephen Drew started his rehab assignment for Double A Portland, serving as the designated hitter Thursday night and going 1 for 4 with an RBI double. He will play shortstop on Friday and Farrell said he hopes to have him back in the Red Sox lineup on Saturday.
Henry speaks up
In a wide-ranging interview on WEEI, Red Sox owner John Henry addressed everything from his relationship with former manager Terry Francona to the looming free agency of Jacoby Ellsbury.
After a bitter split following the 2011 season, Henry said it would be hard to reconcile with Francona, who wrote a book detailing his final years with the Sox.
“To me, he wrote a book that really attacked Tom [Werner] and Larry [Lucchino] unfairly,” Henry said. “So, how can we have much of a relationship at this point?”
At the same time, Henry praised the job Francona did in helping the Sox win two World Series.
“He was the best manager we ever had,” Henry said. “We had eight great years, great teams. He was a great manager. He was the best manager we’ve ever had. And I appreciate what he did. He suffered as much as any manager I’ve ever seen — even through the good times. He did everything he could to win for this organization.”
With Ellsbury in a contract year, Henry said he’s talked to both the outfielder and his agent Scott Boras and “would very much like to retain” him.
Koji Uehara got another endorsement from Farrell, who said he plans on keeping the veteran righthander in the closer’s role. “Right now Koji’s doing an outstanding job for us in that role and we’re not looking to change for the sake of change,” Farrell said . . . Farrell sent an e-mail to season ticket-holders in regards to the second half of the season. He wrote, “We still have a long road in front of us, and a second half of baseball left before we can start talking about October. Championships aren’t won in July. But we pledge to bring it, night in and night out . . . to match the intensity of the crowd that makes this such a rewarding and special place to play.” . . . Derek Lowe, who won the clinching game in each all three series in the Red Sox’ 2004 World Series run, told USA Today that he was officially retiring. Lowe, 40, pitched for the Sox from 1997-2004.
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.