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Buchholz set for Saturday debut against Twins


FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Clay Buchholz, a key to the Red Sox's starting rotation, will make his first Spring Training start on Saturday afternoon at 1:05 ET against the Twins.

Buchholz tweaked his right hamstring Feb. 12 during the club's first pitchers' fielding practice, which is why he was a little behind schedule.

The Red Sox need a little more consistency from Buchholz this season.

"[He needs] better command at the bottom of the zone," said manager John Farrell. "Games [I] watched early in the year, it looked like he had a little difficulty getting the ball down in the zone. That's where a lot of those home runs came from.

"As he got into his delivery and was a little more aggressive in the strike zone with his stuff and his location, that's where you saw the late action come in more consistently."

Buchholz incorporated a splitter into his repertoire last season, but the Red Sox don't want him to become too reliant on that pitch.

"He went to the split because he wasn't able to get his changeup down in the zone," Farrell said. "So it was a chance to keep his fingers on the ball, rather than to push it, and to finish with some downward action. I think by virtue of his challenges, he discovered another pitch, but we want to guard against having too many and by virtue of that sacrificing having three really defined and refined pitches."

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