When manager Bobby Valentine met with Buchholz on Tuesday, the last thing he sensed was a pitcher who looked defeated.
"We just had a talk about what's going on, and it was the most relaxed that I've seen him all year," Valentine said.
Buchholz didn't pitch after June 16 of last season because of a stress fracture in his back. The problem could simply be that he's regaining his feel for pitching again.
"I know everyone wants to look at the numbers, and the numbers really aren't pretty except for the 3-1 [record] and a lot of innings have been pretty," Valentine said. "The idea that he can improve is absolutely paramount in all of our minds. He just left my office, where we talked about that. There's no doubt that he has plenty of room for improvement."
The back issue that wiped out most of his 2011 season is not an issue, Buchholz has said numerous times. He did battle a blister issue during Monday's start, but that's something he's dealt with the entire time he's been in the Major Leagues.
"He's had that all the time," said pitching coach Bob McClure. "It dries up pretty good. It doesn't tear. It's not something we should be alarmed about. There's quite a few pitchers who have that. It's nothing to be concerned about."
In fact, Valentine pointed out that the blister could actually be a good sign.
"That pops up often when he's throwing well, because that curveball, I'm sure it comes off the finger so hot," Valentine said. "He doctors it and pitches with it. He never complained about it and it was never an issue during the game. I'm bringing it up just because it popped up in the report after the game."
The Red Sox know it's vital they get Buchholz back on track.
"The pitches that he's featuring should be correlating to better numbers. That should correlate," Valentine said. "Those are pretty good pitches. Not a lot of the other arms in the league are featuring the pitches he's featuring. I can't go by what's happened in the past, because I really don't have that barometer."