HOUSTON — A day after Dr. James Andrews checked out his right elbow, Clay Buchholz said he was optimistic about pitching again this season.
Buchholz has been on the disabled list since July 11 with a strained flexor muscle. Based on what Andrews said and the program he laid out, Buchholz expects it will take another 5-6 weeks before he returns to the mound.
Andrews administered an injection of platelet-rich plasma into the injured area. That should speed healing and strengthen the muscle.
“I’m going to be back whenever I can,” Buchholz said on Thursday. “This is sort of frustrating.”
Jason Vargas of the Royals had a similar injury, going on the DL in May with a flexor muscle strain. The injury did not heal properly and on Tuesday Vargas suffered a ligament tear that will require Tommy John surgery.
“Seeing that, that’s definitely not what I want to do. I’m going to take the time I need to take off for it to be better,” Buchholz said. “I definitely want to pitch again. I don’t care how many starts. I need to, that’s why I’m here. This is actually a big year for me, too.”
Buchholz is signed only through the end of the season, with the Red Sox holding a $13 million option for 2016. Obviously it would benefit Buchholz to return this season and demonstrate his ability to pitch.
“I’m going to be playing somewhere. Baseball is baseball . . . I don’t really want to go anywhere,” Buchholz said. “When it comes to the time where somebody’s got to make a decision, the decision doesn’t always match the same way you feel. It is what it is. That’s the business side of it.”
Since the start of the 2010 season, Buchholz has missed approximately 50 starts because of injuries, a number that will increase until he returns. He offers no excuses.
“It’s not going to bother me. It might bother a lot of other people,” Buchholz said. “I’ve said it a lot: It doesn’t bother me how people think about me. They can say what they want to say, you can write what you want to write. That’s basically the bottom line. I know that I’m a good baseball player when I’m out there. So that’s how I look at it.”