One of the last pieces the Toronto Blue Jays added during spring training is ready to step in and join the team this weekend.
Clay Buchholz signed a one-year, $3-million deal in the first week of March, and according to Charlie Montoyo’s pre-game availability in Boston he is ready to join the club and make his Blue Jays debut on the mound Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The 34-year-old right-hander was outstanding in 2018, recording a 7-2 record with a 2.01 ERA over 16 starts for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Buchholz started the regular season on the injured list to work on his conditioning, and after one start with Triple-A Buffalo, he is in good enough shape to fit into the back end of the rotation. The raw numbers from his conditioning start are firmly not great — five innings, four hits, four home runs, and five strikeouts — but those situations are often more about feel than results.
“I feel ready,” Buchholz told The Athletic after his start for the Bisons. “Usually the last thing that comes is being able to throw all your pitches for strikes and I’ve been able to do that over the last three times out.”
Results would be great too, for sure, but for now the Blue Jays will probably be pleased if Buchholz simply shows enough to go five innings. The two previous starters in this spot of the rotation (Sean Reid-Foley and Thomas Pannone) both failed to get out of the third inning in their starts, combining to give up nine runs over 4.2 innings.
Buchholz will officially join the team on Tuesday in familiar territory. The Blue Jays are playing a quick two-game set in Boston, a place where Buchholz played for the first 10 seasons of his major league career.
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