By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Is Clay Buchholz’s career in jeopardy?

Mike Silverman has a very worrying report in today’s Boston Herald about Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz. Yes, we already knew that Buchholz was done for the 2011 season, barring a medical miracle. We also all knew that Buchholz had a stress fracture in his back.

But now Silverman reports that Buchholz last week was diagnosed with “a new stress fracture (in addition to pre-existing ones),” and that the Red Sox knew before the All-Star break that he “had multiple, small stress fractures.”

That doesn’t sound like an injury Buchholz can reasonably expected to come back from without it happening again. Some players — especially pitchers — just don’t have major-league bodies. Buchholz could be one of them. It would be a shame, given his promise and ability.

We should know more later today, according to the Boston Globe’s Julian Benbow.

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  1. BP Myers

    Of far more concern than his mere career is. what would cause someone so young’s bones to (apparently) become so brittle? Dave Dravecky comes to mind.

    Anyway, here’s hoping it has far more to do with the extra weight the Red Sox forced on him than anything else.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @BP: I was thinking more of Bill Walton, who didn’t have NBA feet, but who otherwise has led a perfectly normal life.

  2. Andy Koppel

    In Dave Dravecky’s case, the bone brittleness was the result of cancer and cancer treatment. He literally broke his arm throwing a pitch during his second game back, ending his career. It doesn’t seem likely that Buchholz’s case is analogous.

  3. Stephen Stein

    I’m no doctor, but I thought stress fractures of the back were not all that rare in adolescents, especially those in sports. And that the prognosis was a complete recovery, given the completion of a treatment program (back brace, rest, rehab). Buchholz is in his mid-late 20s though.

    Is there an orthopedist in the house?

    Anyway, for now:

  4. Not to nit-pick, but Bill Walton’s life hasn’t been perfectly normal where his body is concerned. Last year he openly discussed how he’d recently considered suicide because his back pain had become so severe.

    On a completely unrelated point, I’m still having difficulty digesting your praise for Peter Lucas’s Murdoch column, both here and on BTP. That column was all well and good, but I wish you would provide some context when you single it out because it was SO COMPLETELY out of the ordinary for Lucas. In fact, when I was reading it on the train that morning, I had to check the byline just to make sure I hadn’t mis-read it. I’m a regular Sun reader, and Lucas’s columns are consistently mean-spirited, boring, and useless, recycling the same old played-out talking points, primarily regarding Deval and Barry O.

    Today Lucas addressed the urgent matter of John Kerry’s friendship with John Edwards and Wade Sanders, a swift boat vet who was convicted on child porn charges.

    Though Lucas admits, “There is absolutely no evidence that Kerry was ever aware of Sanders’ behavior, and no doubt he would have banished him from his circle of friends and campaigners had he known,” it doesn’t keep him from writing a horrendous column excoriating Kerry for it. And getting a shot at the lamestream media, of course.

    “What the two stories have in common is the fact that both were initially ignored or downplayed by the liberal mainstream media. The mainstream media covered the Edwards story only after The National Inquirer, which broke it, forced it to do so. The Sanders story has yet to be covered by the mainstream media. Apparently, sex scandals by Democrats do not quite have the allure as similar scandals by Republicans.”

    Yes. Because seven years removed from 2004, readers are DYING to know the details of a swift boat vet’s kiddie porn habits.

    Today’s column is far more typical of Lucas. Prior to your discussion of him, I didn’t even know he had such a history in journalism. Those glory days must be long gone because he generally sounds like a crazy old man now and truly adds nothing to the Sun.

    Sorry to go so off-topic. It just really annoyed me to see him get any positive feedback, even if that column wasn’t as offensive as most of his others.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Much as we all love Terry Francona, I was really surprised a couple of weeks ago when he publicly put pressure on Buchholz to pitch while he was hurting:

      “I want to be pitching. I want to help the team any way I can,” he [Buchholz] said. “Me going out there not 100 percent and not 80 percent, I don’t think it’s going to help the team. If I rush back into it, it’ll be something that’ll be here for the rest of the season, and I don’t want that. I’d rather be ready to pitch at 100 percent. I feel like that’s the way I can help this team.”

      Said manager Terry Francona, “I don’t know if that has to be the case. I just think he has to be able to go out and be able to pitch every five days and have it not get in the way. Again, just try and use good judgment. I don’t know that anybody is 100 percent at this time of the year.”

      Bad call, Tito. Not quite up there with Curt Schilling questioning Scott Williamson’s toughness when Williamson needed Tommy John surgery, but not smart, either.

      • Dan Kennedy

        Sounds like good news for Buchholz, though we still don’t know why he got a stress fracture in the first place and whether he’s susceptible to this happening again.

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