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After making two rehab starts in Pawtucket, Clay Buchholz has been activated from the 15-day disabled list to make his first start in almost a month against the Seattle Mariners Wednesday night. He’ll be looking to salvage the finale after the Red Sox dropped the first two games of the series by scores of 12-3 and 8-2.
To make room for Buchholz on the 25-man roster, the Red Sox designated left-handed deliver Chris Capuano for assignment. Capuano had struggled of late in limited appearances, giving up 10 runs and 14 hits in only 4 innings of relief for the month of June.
While not surprising given Capuano’s struggles and the lack of confidence manager John Farrell had in him at this point, the move is somewhat disappointing given how the converted lefty starter began the season. Capuano reeled off 12 straight scoreless appearances and shone as one of the most reliable relievers out of the pen to start the season. Since then, of course, he had been relegated to mop up duty after posting a 4.05 ERA in 12 appearances in May. Of his 4 innings of June work, 2.1 came in the opener against the Mariners with the game already all but out of reach (the game the Red Sox would wind up losing 12-3).
Buchholz will be looking to do exactly the opposite. After jumping out to a 9-0 start and a 1.71 ERA through June 8th in 2013, Buchholz began this season’s first two months with a 2-4 record and a 7.02 ERA (!). Then he hyperextended his let knee running the bases in the National League, which the Red Sox used as an excuse to park him in Pawtucket while he worked through whatever issues plagued his ability to function as an effective pitcher.
Now he returns from his rehab stint looking to get back to his 2013 form. His two starts at AAA were encouraging: 10.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 HR, 2 BB, 10 K. The only blip in his stat line is the two long balls, but other than that he was pretty sharp.
If the Red Sox hope to make any sort of move back into the pennant race, they’ll certainly need Buchholz to make major leaguers look like his recent Triple-A competition. Ideally that would start tonight against a scorching hot Seattle squad, but I can’t say I feel too great about him returning after Robinson Cano and company lit Red Sox pitching up for 20 runs the past two games…