April 12, 2017

Clay Buchholz's season in jeopardy after MRI result

A definitive decision has not been made on what the future holds for Clay Buchholz in a Phillies uniform, but the news on Tuesday evening was not promising for the 32-year-old pitcher.

An MRI on Buchholz’s ailing right arm revealed a partial tear of the right flexor pronator mass. In layman’s terms: his arm is not in very good shape for pitching.

Buchholz will get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews on Monday, when the veteran will decide on further course of treatment. It’s at least possible that Buchholz, who also missed significant time with a forearm injury in 2015, could have to undergo season-ending surgery.

No matter the outcomes, it’s difficult to imagine the pitcher back on the mound for the Phillies in the coming months.

Buchholz, a free agent at the end of the season, allowed six runs on eight hits before asking for the trainer to come to the mound with one out in the third inning of Tuesday night’s game at Citizens Bank Park against the Mets. He said he didn’t first begin to feel the discomfort in his elbow until the last few pitches he threw last night.

But Buchholz has struggled to get results since he first put on a Phillies uniform this spring. He lacked velocity through the spring (flirting with 90 MPH).

Buchholz’s diminished stuff did not play well in his first two regular season starts: he has a 12.27 ERA and has allowed 19 of the 40 batters he’s faced to reach via hit or walk.

With two days off in the next four days, the Phillies don't have to replace Buchholz immediately in their rotation – they do not need a fifth starter until April 22. When that times comes, they're likely to call up one of the many promising arms in the Triple-A Lehigh Valley rotation (Zach Eflin and Nick Pivetta could be favorites for the spot).

The Phillies acquired Buchholz in a December trade with the Boston Red Sox for minor league infield Josh Tobias. Buchholz is making $13.5 million this season, the second-highest salary on the Phillies roster in 2017.


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