FORT MYERS, Fla. — Clay Buchholz was not sharp against the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday, giving up a run on three hits and a walk in one inning. He also pitched at a maddeningly slow pace.
But what mattered most was how physically good Buchholz felt walking back to the dugout.
Buchholz was anxious to test the strength of his right shoulder in his spring training debut. Playing catch and throwing in the bullpen offered only so much feedback.
“It feels completely different than it did the last month and half, two months of last year,” said Buchholz, who spent three months on the disabled list last season. “That’s what I want it to feel like coming into camp. Now just need to keep working.”
The Red Sox planned to have Buchholz go to the bullpen and keep throwing after the first inning. But the 26 pitches he threw were deemed sufficient.
“It was good to see Clay back on the mound,” manager John Farrell said. “He showed decent arm strength. I don’t want to make too much of an inning of work. But he was able to go through an extended bullpen, almost simulating an inning. In some ways today was like two innings of work for him. A good starting point.”
Buchholz said his velocity got up to 92-93. Scouts in the stands said it was a few ticks lower than that. But it was certainly higher than the low-wattage stuff he featured in Game 4 of the World Series.
“Velocity is creeping back up to where I need it to be,” said Buchholz. “No problems throughout.”
Peavy is throwing
Righthander Jake Peavy played catch from 120 feet, an effort by the Red Sox to keep his arm in shape after he missed his start Monday with a deep cut on his left index finger.
Peavy only threw the ball, however. Head athletic trainer Rick Jameyson caught it for him. Peavy is scheduled to throw in the bullpen Wednesday without a glove.
Peavy’s finger is still heavily bandaged after an accident with a fishing knife Saturday that required minor surgery to repair.
“The precaution we have to take right now is just making sure he doesn’t perspire too much,” said Farrell. “That might cause some bacteria to get into the incision. It’s still closing up.”
It’s uncertain when Peavy will be able to get into a game, which raises the possibility he might not be ready for the start of the season. If the Red Sox used Peavy as their No. 5 starter, he would not be needed until April 6. That could buy him time to stay behind and prepare.
The other option would be to use Chris Capuano or Brandon Workman in the rotation and place Peavy on the disabled list.
For now, the hope remains Peavy will break camp with the team.
“We haven’t ruled that out yet,” Farrell said. “As much as we can continue to do with arm work and arm activity in the current situation, we’ll get him out to the mound as soon as we can.”
Shane Victorino took batting practice on the field. Farrell said the right fielder would need several such workouts before he gets in a game.
“We don’t feel it’s too far in the future,” Farrell said. “He’s in good shape as far as being ready for the start of the season.”
Victorino was held back to work on strengthening his groin muscles to guard against the nagging injuries he had last season.
“Now is the time to do that stuff, not later on,” said Victorino, who also was recovering from surgery on his right thumb. “I felt good hitting on the field.”
Rest for Pierzynski
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski (left ankle) was walking around the clubhouse without any sort of limp. He has some swelling and isn’t expected to play until Saturday at the earliest. Pierzynski rolled his ankle during one of the early workouts and again Monday. The Sox want to give him a few days . . . Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who announced last month that he has cancer, needs a second surgery according to Channel 5. Schilling has not said what type of cancer he has . . . David Ortiz’s agent, Fernando Cuza, was back at JetBlue Park and Sox team president Larry Lucchino also was in attendance. The sides have been discussing an extension for the designated hitter . . . The Red Sox didn’t provide a bat boy for the Rays until the third inning, leaving pitching coach Jim Hickey to fill in. “I think they can afford a bat boy or two,’’ manager Joe Maddon said. “Although I think they’re the highest paid batboys in all of baseball — so maybe the kid was holding out.” . . . The Red Sox will play their next two games across the state in Jupiter against the Cardinals and Marlins on Wednesday and Thursday. A group of players on the roster for both games will spend Wednesday night in a hotel close to Roger Dean Stadium.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.