Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
After being sidelined in mid-June with what was ultimately diagnosed as a stress fracture in his lower back, Buchholz pitched in a game for the first time in nine months Monday night, going two scoreless innings.
Just as notable, he said afterward, is the fact that he intends to remain on a regimen of core exercises to strengthen his back. He’s cut back from daily exercises for the back to about three times a week, but given all the twisting and turning his teammates do as baseball players, they are showing interest in doing the same.
“A long time coming,’’ Buchholz said. “My mindset was just try and relax. Don’t try to overthrow, just start off. It went a little haywire, but being in situations with guys on base was good.’’
ESPNBoston | It's about Buchholz' back, and being back
It's all good news about Clay thus far. And that's good, because we need some good pitching news.
Lester is just about the only sure thing in the staff. Beckett has raised the ire of the entire region (for being very sensible about September, but we've already discussed that), and has the weird "only good in odd-numbered years" trend to his stats. Bard is, obviously, no sure thing. And I could end up as fifth starter, given the options.
So Clay could be a big part of this staff. Can he get back to 2010 levels? Probably not -- I think, like Jacoby last year, he might have shown the best he can be too early. (But I haven't always been Clay's biggest supporter.) But if we can even get last year's production -- mid 3's ERA, WHIP in the 1.2's -- I'll be more than happy. We need somebody to step up in this rotation.
On page 2, the official prospect of Ted's Army gets some props from Bobby V.
Yesterday the topic was his ability to track down pop-ups in corners of the field few shortstops know exist, places he visited several times last week in a “B” game against the Minnesota Twins, when he caught pop flies that normally would have fallen for hits against most men of his position.
“Here’s the specialness — he has a special tracking device on fly balls unique to very few from what I’ve seen so far,” Valentine said. “He has a special ability to transfer the ball from glove to hand. He has a specialness moving and range and game awareness. I can tell he can transfer the ball from a longer distance more than anyone I’ve ever seen, and he’s got that GPS in his mind.”
“I dare say no one in this camp based on the skill set,” Valentine said. “Few, if anyone — Ozzie (Smith) and Rey Ordonez could do that. There’s a few, but very few. (Derek) Jeter is really good at it, too.
The more that comes out about Iglesias, the more it sounds like he might make the team. In a way, this situation could be emblematic of Valentine's issues with communication. If he spends all spring talking up Iglesias, and then they send him down to Pawtucket, any weaknesses at short are going to result in a lot of criticism.
Anyway, I'm excited to see Jose. I've seen the arguments both ways -- he needs more seasoning at the plate, or his glove's ready so let's just throw him into the fire so he can learn -- and I don't really know what to believe. I've been more excited about Iglesias than any Sox prospect I can remember, so I'm not really an objective party in this. But I'd like to see him here on opening day.
ESPNBoston | Clay Buchholz sharp in return as Red Sox rip Twins | Takeaways from Fort: Vini, vidi, Vicente | Mike Aviles welcomes change in plans | More abuse claims vs. Red Sox aide | Herald | Clay Buchholz back to work | Vicente Padilla full of intrigue | Carl Crawford longshot | Globe | Red Sox whirlwind | Buchholz begins on road back | Talk about fifth spot already has started | Crawford shut down for week | CSNNE | Ortiz using spring games to work on mechanics | Buchholz leads Red Sox past Twins, 10-2