Buchholz insurance for Red Sox's rotation

Pitching out of 'pen, veteran righty an option if starter suffers injury

Buchholz insurance for Red Sox's rotation

BOSTON -- Clay Buchholz is working in an undefined role out of the bullpen, but that doesn't mean the Red Sox will trade him.

"Well, right now he's in our 'pen and protecting us as we go forward with the five starters," said Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. "He's real good protection for us. I thought he threw the ball the other day as well as I've seen him throw it all year. I thought his stuff was outstanding. So, he's got a place now."

If the Red Sox suffer an injury to one of their five starters, they lack viable options at Triple-A, which is one reason Buchholz could stick around. In Monday's 4-2 loss to the Tigers, Buchholz allowed one run in two innings.

"It's important. He helps in that regard," Dombrowski said. "I know it's not an ideal scenario for him, but he's been great about it. [Manager] John [Farrell] communicates well with him and [pitching coach] Carl Willis does."

If Dombrowski makes more pitching acquisitions leading up to the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline, perhaps the Red Sox simply won't have the roster flexibility to carry Buchholz.

But the Red Sox have another week to sort that out.

In 13 starts, Buchholz has a 6.31 ERA. As a reliever, he was 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in seven games entering Monday.

"It's a situation where you understand it that he's not thrilled, but he handles himself very professionally, keeps himself ready," Dombrowski said. "And like the other day, and I told him afterwards, I said, 'I thought you threw the ball as well as I've seen you've thrown it all year.' He was hitting 95 [mph] and he had good movement and the breaking ball was good. Unfortunately a couple fly balls fell in that probably shouldn't have."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.