Jays' Buchholz faces former team, Red Sox, for 1st time

Field Level Media

When the Boston Red Sox last saw Clay Buchholz, the right-hander's time in the major leagues appeared close to the end -- a once-promising career derailed by injury.

Now, three years later, Buchholz is still in the league, and he faces his former club for the first time as his Toronto Blue Jays host the Red Sox in the finale of a three-game series Thursday.

Buchholz (1-4, 5.31 ERA) will make his fourth start since returning last month from a stint on the 60-day injured list caused by right shoulder inflammation. He'll be opposed by Boston righty Jhoulys Chacin (3-10, 5.60).

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Buchholz, a compensation-round pick by the Red Sox in the 2005 draft, pitched in Boston from 2007-16, his most notable accomplishment coming when he no-hit the Baltimore Orioles in his second career start. Injuries and inconsistency marked the rest of his tenure, though he went 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA in 2010 and 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 16 starts in 2013, making the All-Star team each year.

The Red Sox traded Buchholz to the Phillies in December 2016, and he tore the flexor tendon in his right forearm after his second start with Philadelphia and missed the remainder of the 2017 campaign. He resurfaced with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2018 and went 7-2 with a 2.01 ERA in 16 starts to earn a one-year, $3 million deal with Toronto this year.

"I'm glad that he's still pitching and getting his action," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora, a former teammate of Buchholz. "This guy, we've seen him when he was young. For him to keep performing at this level is a testament to who he is."

Buchholz, 35, has made quality starts in two of his three appearances since his return from the IL. He gave up four runs (three earned) in six innings in a 5-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday.

"It's good to be back," he said. "You'd like to win, but for this group, it's a learning experience, a learning curve. I think in the near future, there will be a lot of wins for this team."

Signs of that have come in this series, as the Blue Jays have won the first two meetings. The Red Sox, meanwhile, are reeling, having lost five in a row to fall well off the American League wild-card pace. Boston was held to two hits while falling 8-0 on Wednesday.

"The effort is there, but the results are not," Cora said. "Obviously, everybody is disappointed at what's going on."

One of the few bright spots over the past week for Boston was Chacin. In his team debut, he struck out four over two perfect innings against the New York Yankees while pitching for the first time since July 24. He also threw a scoreless inning in relief against the New York Yankees on Sunday.

A starter his entire run with the Milwaukee Brewers before getting released earlier this year, Chacin is building back up into a source of innings for the Red Sox.

Chacin, having spent most his career in the National League, will face the Blue Jays for the first time.

--Field Level Media

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