With veteran Bartolo Colon injured, young Red Sox hurler Clay Buchholz now has a reprieve from what had been a probable demotion to Triple A Pawtucket.
Though nothing is official, Buchholz in all likelihood would have been demoted by now if Colon had not pulled up sore with a rib strain.
Colon, 34, had been anticipated to be named to the major league roster last week until doctors determined he should rest, effectively holding off his probable candidacy to replace Buchholz, 22. Buchholz is believed to have been ticketed to Pawtucket as coaches had been concerned over his inexperience and more than 10 ERA during spring camp and 5.03 ERA in the early going this season.
Though Buchholz pitched a no-hitter last year, he has options remaining and Colon had been throwing in the mid-90s in Pawtucket.
The Red Sox signed the free agent Colon to a $1.2 million, incentive-laden, one-year contract that goes into effect once Colon makes the roster. He was initially signed to replace injured staff ace Curt Schilling, who despite claims to the contrary is likely gone for the remainder of the year, perhaps forever.
Many scoffed at the Colon decision as he was only 6-8 with a 6.34 ERA in limited action with the Angels last year, having dealt with chronic elbow inflammation and rotator cuff problems. Colon started just 10 times in 2006, going 1-5 with a 5.11 ERA.
But Colon had been throwing well, dieting and exercising in Pawtucket, and had brought his weight down somewhat, though he appears to tip the scales at considerably more than the 245 pounds at which he is now listed.