Back injury likely to end season for Buchholz

Back injury likely to end season for Buchholz

BOSTON -- Boston's need for a starting pitcher at the Trade Deadline became a little more apparent on Monday morning.

Clay Buchholz, out since the middle of June with an injury listed as a strain in his lower back, is likely to miss the rest of the year because of a stress fracture, according to Comcast Sports New England. The diagnosis was made after Buchholz felt discomfort in a bullpen session a week ago Monday, according to CSNNE, and he's scheduled to see Los Angeles-based back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins on Monday.

The Red Sox have not commented on or confirmed the report.

"Until then, we're hopefully on hold," manager Terry Francona said Friday of the Watkins visit. "Then we'll hopefully have a lot more [after the visit] and go from there."

Buchholz, who turns 27 on Aug. 14, is 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 14 starts this season. He made a career-high 28 starts a year ago, and was signed to a guaranteed four-year, $30.5 million extension earlier this season.

The Red Sox landed Seattle's Erik Bedard in a last-minute deal on Sunday, after a deal for Oakland's Rich Harden fell through. Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein hinted at the time that Buchholz's situation wasn't an encouraging one.

"Clearly, we have some concern for Clay," Epstein said Sunday. "It's been almost a couple months now, which is longer than we expected it to be. We're still waiting for some more feedback and another opinion. I think we have a feel for what might be going on. Clay is seeing another expert [Monday] for his opinion, then we're all going to put our heads together early this week."

"Any time a pitcher of his caliber is not on the mound for a while, throws a side as he did on Monday but can't necessarily back it up with another side, get out there on a rehab assignment, there's some concern. We think we're in the process of getting to the bottom of it. We're all going to put our heads together early this week and talk about it with Clay before we discuss it publicly."

Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.