May 22, 2019
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Red Sox name Buchholz as opening day starter

Reinhold Matay | USA Today Sports
Reinhold Matay | USA Today Sports
The Boston Red Sox have named Clay Buchholz as their opening day starter against the Phillies in Philadelphia on Monday, April 6.

The Boston Red Sox named right-hander Clay Buchholz as their opening day starter Sunday.

However, the announcement by manager John Farrell was accompanied by some troubling injury news regarding relief pitcher Koji Uehara and catcher Christian Vazquez.

Buchholz, who was 8-11 with a 5.34 earned-run average last season after going 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 2013, will be on the mound for the Red Sox in their opener in Philadelphia on Monday, April 6. It will be his first opening day start.

“Obviously, a big honor,” Buchholz said. “That being said, it’s another game. I’ve got to prepare as I would for any other start. It gets a lot of publicity and there’s a lot of attention on it, just for it being opening day. I’m going to try to take it as normal as possible and try to cherish the moment.”

Rick Porcello, who was 15-13 with a 3.53 ERA for Detroit last year, will pitch the second game for Boston.

The rotation after that has yet to be determined. Wade Miley, Justin Masterson and Joe Kelly are the top contenders to fill out the rotation.

The bullpen is also unsettled after Farrell told the Providence Journal that he is not counting on closer Uehara being available for opening day.

A throwing session in the bullpen on Saturday was scheduled to be the final step before Uehara pitched in a Grapefruit League game. But Uehara experienced some pain in his hamstring during that session. As a result, Uehara will rest for a day or two before beginning the rehabilitation process again. He probably will start the season on the disabled list.

Uehara first injured his hamstring on March 17 while doing conditioning drills.

Uehara, who turns 40 on Friday, was 6-5 last season with a 2.52 ERA and 26 saves.

If Uehara misses the start of the season as expected, Edward Mujica will probably serve as the closer in his absence.

Meanwhile, Vazquez, 24, has been bothered by a sore right elbow, and CSN New England reported he will be examined by Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday. Andrews specializes in Tommy John surgery, so the Red Sox must suspect Vazquez’s injury could be serious.

“I don’t know about the severity of it right now,” Farrell said. “We know there have been findings on it, based on the MRI, and I think anytime the elbow is talked about, you go to someone who’s probably the source in our industry — and that’s Dr. Andrews — to take a further look at this.”

Vazquez, who appeared to be making progress in his throwing program, has not played in a game since March 13, when he said he felt discomfort in his elbow.

Vazquez caught in a minor league game Friday, but he was instructed to throw only back to the pitcher.

Now it appears he will miss at least the start of the season, and, if Tommy John surgery is required, he would miss the entire season.

As a rookie last season, Vazquez hit .240 with one homer in 55 games.

Ryan Hanigan looks like he will be the Red Sox starting catcher on opening day, but if Vazquez is sidelined for an extended period, top prospect Blake Swihard may be pushed onto the major league roster.

In Sunday’s spring training game in Fort Myers, Florida, shortstop prospect Deven Marrero hit a two-out single off the Green Monster in JetBlue Park to give the Red Sox a 3-2 win over the Rays in 10 innings.

New Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo gave the team a spark when he made a nice running catch in foul ground in right field and then fired at the plate to double up Cade Cotta in the top of the 10th.

Castillo then singled to left in Boston’s half of the inning, moved to second on a passed ball and raced to third on Allen Craig’s flyout to center.

Red Sox pitching prospect, lefthander Brian Johnson, gave up two runs and six hits in four innings. He walked two and struck out three.

Mike Napoli chipped in with an RBI double for the Red Sox.

Kevin Kiermaier sparked the Rays with two hits and Evan Longoria had an RBI single.

Righty Justin Masterson gets the start against the Twins at 7:05 p.m. Monday at JetBlue Park.


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