05/31/08 6:47 PM ET
Red Sox option Buchholz to Pawtucket
Francona wants to give righty time to refine without pressure
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
Manager Terry Francona wanted to make it clear that the club is not disappointed in Buchholz, who was 2-3 with a 5.53 ERA in his eight starts. Instead the team looks at this trip to the Minor Leagues as a chance for Buchholz to refine and develop some things without the stress of winning games for the Red Sox.
"Just wanted to make sure he understood what we were trying to do," said Francona. "[We're] trying to almost take out having to be concerned with the linescore every game, but [we want him to] go be consistent -- pound the strike zone with that fastball and be consistent with his arm slot. Things like that. There were some things that needed to be worked on, and this is probably the best opportunity to do it."
The timing of Buchholz's injury coincided with Bartolo Colon being ready to join the rotation. Still, with Daisuke Matsuzaka going on the disabled list, there could have been an opening for Buchholz. At this point, however, the Red Sox feel that he needs just a little more seasoning.
With what in particular?
"Consistency with his fastball," Francona said. "And some of that is arm slot, command. It goes hand in hand. His offspeed stuff is probably as good as anyone in the game. Sometimes you just need a little bit to finish up what you're doing. We tried to make sure he understood that, which I think he did. We'll continue to monitor him because of how important he is to where we're going."
To this point, Buchholz has been receptive to everything the Red Sox have thrown at him.
"He has not disappointed us," Francona said. "We [told] him last winter what to do [with his shoulder strengthening], and he did it. There's a lot there. To not tap into it fully would be a mistake on our part. He's taken his shoulder completely out of the issue. That's great. I think we kind of feel he'll do the same thing now with the command of his fastball."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.