Buchholz throws; Sox complete trade

March, 18, 2010
3/18/10
4:52
PM ET
With the Red Sox enjoying their one day without a game on the Grapefruit League schedule, it was a slow day in Fort Myers, Fla. But Clay Buchholz didn't have the day off, as he pitched four innings in a minor league game.

It was Buchholz's regular day to start and the team wanted to keep him on schedule. He gave up one hit and struck out four while walking none. He threw 45 pitches -- 31 for strikes -- and another 15 in the bullpen afterward.

"I tried to take it as the same outing as if I was pitching against Tampa Bay or New York or whoever," Buchholz said. "Sometimes it's good to come out here and pitch. But I felt really good physically. Got to use all my pitches. Got through four innings, and got some work in. That's basically the main reason why I threw today -- stay on five days' and get the work on."

Buchholz allowed only one ball other than a third-inning double to center to leave the infield, a fourth-inning flyout to center.

Buchholz used all his pitches and was satisfied with them all.

"For the most part, I felt good with all of them," he said. "I was able to find out what I was doing wrong, and switch it in between a pitch instead of it being three or four pitches away. Missed a couple fastballs and felt good when I came back and adjusted. And same thing with a couple of curveballs and changeups. And even the cutter. They all worked at one point in time. So, that builds confidence."

The 25-year-old Buchholz has been building confidence the last few years.

After throwing a no-hitter in just his second big league start in September 2007, Buchholz struggled for most of 2008 at the big league level -- 2-9, 6.75 ERA -- eventually being sent to Double-A Portland in August of that season.

Last year, he pitched well during spring training, but started the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, with veterans John Smoltz and Brad Penny getting the nod ahead of him.

"Last year I sort of knew that I didn't have a spot coming into spring training because we had Smoltzie and BP in front of me," Buchholz said. "So, it was a little different. But at the same time, I'm preparing the same going out and trying to do the things that I work on out of the game and I'm trying to bring them into the game. So I feel the same.

"It's the same goal to break camp with the team and that's going to remain my goal for the duration of spring training, he added."

He posted a record of 7-2 with a 2.36 ERA in 16 starts for the PawSox, with a 2.97 strikeouts-to-walks ratio, last season, and was called up to Boston on July 17, going 7-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 16 starts.

This spring, Buchholz's hold on a spot in the rotation appears more firm. Although the Red Sox started the spring with six pitchers -- Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Buchholz -- vying for the five spots, Matsuzaka has been slowed by back and neck ailments and is unlikely to be ready for opening day.

Still, Buchholz is focused on his own preparation, paying little attention to outside influences.

"Dice is, whenever he's ready to go, he's going to be good," Buchholz said. "Obviously, he's going to be ready within the next month or so. So, I can't put that in my mind as far as 'Well, I should get the start in the first month.' And I don't know what's going to happen after that. I'm just going to out and pitch every day, or every day they give me the ball and try to do what I have to do to succeed and get better every time I go out."

In other notes:

* The Red Sox acquired right-handed pitcher Miguel Celestino from the Mariners to complete a trade that landed Bill Hall in Boston and sent Casey Kotchman to Seattle.

The 20-year-old Celestino was 5-3 with a 4.73 ERA in 13 games with the Rookie League's Arizona Mariners. Celestino, who signed with the Mariners as a free agent in December 2006, played for Seattle's Dominican Summer League team in 2007 and 2008.

* Check out this piece on Marco Scutaro from ESPN Stats and Information’s Jeremy Lundblad, who explains why Scutaro might be more valuable to the Red Sox at the plate than in the field.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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