BOSTON -- After pitching for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday night, Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz left McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, R.I., and quickly returned to the dugout in Fenway Park, where Boston defeated the Chicago White Sox, 4-3.
It’s not common for a big leaguer to do such a thing after a rehab game. But it’s another indication of how close this current Red Sox team is and one of the reasons it enters Saturday’s game with a 3 ½-game lead atop the AL East.
“You want to be here pulling for the guys,” Buchholz said. “We pull for each other and that’s what makes this team fun.”
Even Red Sox manager John Farrell was surprised to see Buchholz in uniform in the dugout.
“It was surprising to me,” admitted Farrell. “I forget what inning it was, sixth or seventh inning, and he’s sitting on the bench. I happened to ask a question to David Ross, I look over and [Buchholz] is sitting next to him. I was like, ‘What the heck are you doing here?’ I think it shows outwardly that not only does he feel good about himself, not just because of the game he pitched but to get back here in uniform and be back in our environment, obviously he wants to get back on the mound. He’s eager to and it’s been that way for a long time. More than anything, he’s starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
How did he get up here so fast?
“That’s a good question,” Farrell said. “I sure as hell don’t know.”
Because the PawSox game started an hour earlier than Boston’s, Farrell was able to see Buchholz for the first inning, and the Red Sox manager was happy with the overall results from the outing.
The right-hander worked 3 1/3 innings and allowed one run on seven hits with zero walks and two strikeouts. He tossed 53 pitches (34 strikes). He’s scheduled to throw his third and final rehab outing on Wednesday, which will be a playoff start for Pawtucket (TBD).
After Friday’s outing, Buchholz said he thinks he’ll be ready to return to Boston’s rotation on Sept. 10 against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. When he is activated from the DL, Farrell is not sure whether the team will move a starter to the bullpen, or try to work a six-man rotation for the final few weeks of the regular season.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Farrell said. “Buch’s got one more start he’s going to make on Wednesday and after that we’ll re-evaluate where we are and where he fits in best.”
-- Many of the Red Sox players, specifically those that have played for Triple-A Pawtucket this season and in the past, were excited to learn the PawSox had clinched the IL-North division title in a dramatic 2-1 walk-off win Friday night at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, R.I.
-- Farrell was thrilled for PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina and his team. Not only is it a good learning experience for the young prospects, but competing in a playoff atmosphere also helps their development.
“Given the stage of the career of the number of guys that are there, particularly the younger guys on their way up, I think those settings are invaluable,” Farrell said. “Even if it’s guys who have made their [major league] debut already, but I think to feel a sense of urgency is always a good thing when it comes to either making a pitch or a play in some key spots.”
Current Red Sox first-base coach Arnie Beyeler managed the PawSox to the Governors’ Cup title in 2012, so he understands first-hand the team’s excitement, especially for DiSarcina.
“It’s awesome for those guys,” Beyeler said. “When you get an opportunity to get into the playoffs like that, it’s a great feeling. It’s great for the organization.”
It’s the third consecutive season the PawSox have earned a postseason berth. Also, Pawtucket has used 63 different players this season. In fact, there have been 49 player moves in 31 days in August. With all the roster changes, the PawSox still found a way to win, and accomplishing that with mostly homegrown talent.
“It’s great and we’ve noticed that change in our organization the last few years,” Beyeler said. “It’s real nice when you look down there and see a bunch of guys on the field are your homegrown guys.”
-- Major league rosters expand Sunday and the Red Sox will initially add a few players, while the rest of the additions won’t be made until the Pawtucket’s postseason concludes.
“I think we’ll have probably three or four join us initially and then the remainder of who are in the process of deciding come probably at the end of Pawtucket’s playoff run. But I think initially we’ll look to add some certain positions – a pitcher, a catcher, probably an infielder. The names attached to those positions are coming shortly,” Farrell said.
It’s likely the Red Sox will also add outfielder Quintin Berry, who the club recently acquired via trade because of his speed and baserunning ability. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway and infielder Brock Holt will likely get the call, too.