Buchholz's delivery adjustments show positive results
Red Sox righty tosses 1-2-3 inning in spring debut
By Spencer Fordin
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Clay Buchholz only threw 13 pitches in his spring debut Tuesday, but he was pleased with the results. Buchholz faced three batters in Boston's 2-1 win over Northeastern University, and he said that his offseason work on his delivery has already begun to pay dividends.
Buchholz, who went 8-11 with a 5.34 ERA last season, said that he believes he's found a way to improve the command of his offspeed stuff. The Red Sox helped him make a minor adjustment with his kick leg designed to improve the accuracy of his changeup against right-handed hitters.
And though it was just a brief test, Buchholz was happy with the results.
"They feel natural," he said of his mechanical adjustments. "I've been working a lot on it. It's basically the only thing I worked on in the offseason and throughout camp. It's pretty much to the point of being second nature. I don't have to remind myself. It's more or less just a checkpoint. If I finish a certain way, I know what I'm doing and I can correct it rather than it lingering through an inning or a game."
Buchholz, a two-time All-Star, has never thrown 200 innings in the big leagues, and he said his goal this season is to make every start. Every pitch was moving the way he wanted it to and he came away from his one inning against college hitters with a full sense of accomplishment.
Boston manager John Farrell was every bit as pleased with the performance. Farrell said that Buchholz worked down in the strike zone and elaborated on the right-hander's mechanical adjustment.
"I don't know how specific he got with the direction of his lead leg, but the last pitch he threw was a very good changeup to a right-hander," said Farrell. "When he's staying behind his arm, that pitch stays on the plate, which was the case and has been the case all through camp. This has been a continuation from the end of last year through his offseason bullpens. He's been able to execute so far."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.