Sox to promote Buchholz after break
Boston right-hander will open second half in Toronto
BOSTON -- In order to give their starters extra rest during the All-Star break, the Red Sox will promote heralded prospect Clay Buchholz from Triple-A Pawtucket to start Friday's series opener in Toronto.
The 24-year-old right-hander is having a breakout season with the PawSox, going 7-2 with a 2.36 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts). In 99 innings this season, opponents were hitting just .188 against Buchholz, who has registered 89 strikeouts, 30 walks and tossed one complete game.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona did not announce a corresponding roster move on Sunday, but one will be made before Buchholz takes the hill against the Blue Jays.
"I really think it sets up our rotation a little bit," Francona said. "We wanted to be consistent with our guys' rest. Everybody will get a turn through, and we wanted to see Buch pitch, too. There are a lot of reasons for it, but I think there's some validity to giving him the ball and letting him go."
Pitching on Sunday for Pawtucket, Buchholz allowed five runs (four earned) over 5 2/3 innings in a 5-4 loss to Triple-A Syracuse. In an interesting footnote, weei.com reported that two Blue Jays scouts were in attendance at McCoy Stadium.
Brad Penny will pitch Saturday's game in Toronto, with Jon Lester closing out the series the following afternoon. When the Sox travel to Arlington, John Smoltz will start the July 20 opener against the Rangers, followed by All-Stars Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield.
Selected in the supplemental round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, a pick the Red Sox received as compensation for losing Pedro Martinez to the Mets in free agency, Buchholz tossed a no-hitter against Baltimore on Sept. 1, 2007 -- his second Major League start.
Buchholz was awarded a spot in Boston's starting rotation to begin last season, but he struggled mightily, posting a 2-9 record and a 6.75 ERA in 16 appearances (15 starts).
"I put a lot of it on myself for the season last year, and I know that's how things go. But opportunities come up, and I'm glad I was the guy that they went to for it," Buchholz told The Providence Journal. "I'll take it if it's just one start. If I'm up there for one start and then back down here, that's definitely a step in the right direction. I guess I'll take it day-by-day after this one start and we'll see where it leads me."
Now, the touted Texan finally gets his second chance.
"I'm happy for him," Beckett said. "I really am."
John Barone is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.