08/12/08 6:51 PM ET
Buchholz bumped from rotation
Struggling right-hander loses spot to newly acquired Byrd
By Mark Remme / MLB.com
That player happened to be Clay Buchholz, who will forfeit his start on Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays in favor of the newly acquired 37-year-old right-hander.
And while to some watching Buchholz -- who is 0-5 since returning to Boston's rotation from Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-July -- this might seem rather viable, to the Red Sox, it was a momentary adjustment they think will help the team's chances down the stretch.
"[I] went down and talked to Buch, told him what we're doing," manager Terry Francona said at the news conference introducing Byrd to the Red Sox.
The conference began about 10 minutes late due to Francona's chat with Buchholz, who was in the midst of his workout on the field at the time.
"The reason I did it is I didn't want to come out here and talk to you before I talked to Buch," he said.
Buchholz was 2-3 in his first stint with Boston this season before being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a torn fingernail on his right middle finger. He was optioned to the PawSox on May 31 to work on his mechanics and arm-slot development, and returned to the big league roster just before the All-Star break.
Things haven't gone so smoothly since, but the 23-year-old is still a big part of the team's future. Regardless what role he will play down the stretch, which Francona said will become clearer in the next day or so, Buchholz is clearly part of the big picture.
"By no means are we giving up on Clay Buchholz -- far from it," general manager Theo Epstein said. "But that said, this move [for Byrd] gives us the freedom to do the right thing in our rotation rather than forcing people into roles because of injuries. We'll see how things shake out, but by no means is Clay Buchholz out of our big picture."
Buchholz pitched a no-hitter in his second career start, a 10-0 victory over the Orioles on Sept. 1, 2007. That type of promise is why the club has so much hope for the youngster's future.
"This kid is important to us," Francona said. "He's OK. There's a lot of reasons why you invest in young kids in the big leagues. He's not a quitter; things aren't going as smoothly as you'd want them to. Things are going to get better."
Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.