The word was not official going into last night’s game, but what word there was about Clay Buchholz was indeed grim.
Manager Terry Francona had no comment on Comcast SportsNet’s report that Buchholz has a stress fracture in his lower back and will likely miss the remainder of the season. But there wasn’t any indication the report was incorrect, which would be a devastating blow to the Red Sox’s postseason chances.
Newly-acquired lefty Erik Bedard will make his Red Sox debut Thursday, but the dropoff from the emerging star in Buchholz to Bedard, who has his own full-volume injury history, is significant.
Buchholz saw back specialist Dr. Tom Watkins yesterday in Los Angeles — as if Buchholz’s back needed an extra cross-country flight — and the team’s medical staff, Theo Epstein and Francona were expected to discuss the results before confirming what appears to be the worst-case scenario.
According to CSNNE, the recovery period for a stress fracture is two months. But because it will be 3 ½ months since Buchholz pitched in a game come late September — and with no minor league games remaining for rehab purposes — it is unrealistic Buchholz would have the arm strength to contribute in October.
With Buchholz down, the Red Sox would turn to Bedard, whose entry into the rotation allows the Red Sox to throw their top three starters — Jon Lester, John Lackey and Josh Beckett — against the Yankees this weekend.