Buchholz focused on helping Phils after debut

Acquired from Boston in offseason, righty tosses two scoreless innings in first spring start

Buchholz focused on helping Phils after debut

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Clay Buchholz has settled into his new home just fine.

He spent the first 10 years of his career with the Red Sox, but they traded him to the Phillies in December. Buchholz made his Phillies debut Tuesday afternoon in a 7-5 win over the Orioles in a Grapefruit League game at Spectrum Field, and he allowed two hits and one walk in two scoreless innings.

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Afterward, Buchholz said he is not pining for the Red Sox, despite moving from a World Series contender.

"I was fortunate to be part of the Red Sox, and obviously I'm thankful for the opportunities they gave me," Buchholz said. "I was part of a couple special teams there, and you'll never forget those, but I'm here to win, help this team do what we've got to do to be successful. That's all that's on my mind."

Buchholz seems to be embracing his role as one of the few veterans in the Phillies' clubhouse. In fact, he said he heeded some of the advice his Red Sox veteran teammates told him long ago.

He did not pitch at maximum effort in his first spring start.

"I figured I'd give their advice a try, give 80 percent and work more on release point and being comfortable on the field," Buchholz said, "because it's been a while since I've been out there facing competition. It felt good. That's a step in the right direction for Opening Day and wherever we're slotted."

Buchholz is slated to pitch the third game of the season, behind Jeremy Hellickson and Jerad Eickhoff and in front of Vince Velasquez and Aaron Nola.

Buchholz went 8-10 with a 4.78 ERA last year, but the Phillies liked what they saw from him late last season. He had posted a 6.35 ERA in his first 10 starts before moving to Boston's bullpen, but he tweaked his mechanics, changing his release point and pitching exclusively out of the stretch. He finished the season in the Red Sox's rotation, going 3-0 with a 3.14 ERA in five September starts.

Buchholz pitched entirely out of the stretch Tuesday, which is the plan moving forward.

"I pitched out of the stretch probably more in my career than in the windup because there's been guys on base for the majority of my career," Buchholz said. "I'm just doing the same thing with every pitch rather than having one thing with the high leg kick then the slide step out of the stretch. Everything feels like it's on time. It's easier to feel mistakes that way if you're doing the same thing over and over again, so I think it's come pretty smoothly."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.