BOSTON -- Clay Buchholz is coming off a breakout season, which is why he was officially recognized as the Red Sox's co-Pitcher of the Year on Thursday night at the Boston Baseball Writers Dinner. But the righty made it clear that the success he had in 2010 only makes him hungry for more.
"Even last year, on any given night, I feel like I come out of a game and there's something I could have done to make it better," said Buchholz. "From delivery to pace of the game to mechanics, and maybe a couple of pitches that I felt like I was doing something different on that made it not as good as it could be -- there were a number of things."
Last year, Buchholz was brilliant, going 17-7 and finishing with a 2.33 ERA, which ranked him second in the American League behind Felix Hernandez. Along with Jon Lester, Boston's other co-Pitcher of the Year, Buchholz helped fuel his team to an 89-win season, despite a barrage of injuries to key players.
"They're both perfectionists, so they will get better," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of his young guns. "If they continue to pitch and stay healthy, they will get better. They're young, they're strong, they're durable. It will be fun to watch that progression."
And if Josh Beckett and John Lackey can rebound from subpar years, Buchholz and Lester could be part of a rotation that is dominant.
"With Josh, he was hurt for most of the season last year and tried to pitch," said Buchholz. "He's that type of guy, that type of competitor. I think him being healthy, and Lackey coming back and throwing as many innings as he did and Jonny and [Daisuke Matsuzaka] and myself, if everyone stays healthy, it's going to be a fun season."
But Buchholz knows he can't just stick with what worked last year.
"This is a game of adjustments," said Buchholz. "You have to adjust to everybody. All the scouting the hitters do, they know what pitches you throw on certain counts, and then you have to go back and look at video of them. It's more like a chess match. I expect it to be another fun year, but at the same time, we're going to have to work a little harder to get where we're at."
While winning the award isn't something that will make Buchholz complacent, he was honored by it.
"Absolutely," said Buchholz. "At this stage that we play in, it's tough. To be recognized as a Pitcher of the Year, especially for this organization, where everybody on this team is a really good player, it's definitely something special."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.