MINNEAPOLIS -- Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz has thrown a changeup just seven percent of the time this season, according to data compiled by BrooksBaseball.net. That's well down from his 20 percent career rate.
"That's what me and [pitching coach Bob McClure] have been talking about," said Buchholz, who is 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA in three starts. "My changeup has always been a pitch I've been able to throw 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, and I don't have that confidence in it right now to go out there and throw it like I have in the past That's what I've been working on the past couple of weeks -- trying to get a feel for it, and hopefully being able to have that pitch in the bag where you can be behind in the count and throw it."
Buchholz is scheduled for his fourth start of the season Wednesday night against the Twins. He hasn't allowed fewer than five runs in a start and has as many runs allowed (17) as innings pitched.
"It's all release point-related," said Buchholz, who has nine strikeouts and seven walks. "Once you find a release point, the changeup will come into effect. That's been up, too. If my four-seamer and two-seamer are down, usually the changeup is down, too. It's the same pitch, just basically a different grip. Once I get to that point and I throw a couple of good pitches and get out of the first couple of innings without giving any runs, I think it'll put me in the right direction."
Also of note is that Buchholz's fastball velocity has averaged 92.88 mph, down almost a full mph from last season and well below his 94.32 mph lifetime average.
Buchholz suffered a stress fracture in his lower back last season and did not pitch in a game after June 16. Manager Bobby Valentine said he wasn't sure if the back was a factor for Buchholz or whether it was affecting his ability to finish pitches. But Valentine did hone in on the changeup.
"I thought he had a great bullpen [session] yesterday," Valentine said. "He reviewed his last game [against the Yankees on Friday], and everyone else did, too, and obviously they centered a lot of balls, but he also threw a lot of quality pitches. We've got to get that consistent quality down in the zone. When he's down, he's pretty effective -- very effective. He really needs that changeup to be down and to be comfortable with it.''
Crawford to seek second opinion on left elbow
MINNEAPOLIS -- After having his strained left elbow examined in Boston on Tuesday, Carl Crawford is going to get a second opinion, manager Bobby Valentine said after the Red Sox's 11-2 victory over the Twins.
Multiple media outlets reported Wednesday that Crawford was visiting well-known orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.
"He's feeling so good with his hitting and his wrist right now that he doesn't want to have any setbacks," Valentine said. "I think he might even get somebody else to confirm that it is what we think it is, which is just a little soreness. I'm not going to medically describe it. I don't know what it is."
Crawford had offseason left wrist surgery in January and then developed inflammation in it when he reported to Spring Training.
The Sox's left fielder returned to Fort Myers, Fla., on Tuesday night, and Valentine is unsure when the second opinion will take place and who will examine Crawford's elbow.
Crawford has not started throwing or playing in Minor League rehab games. He's been limited to designated hitter work in extended spring games and was in Boston during the team's first home series against the Rays because of the elbow soreness.
Is the injury serious?
"It's always serious, the way I look at it," said Valentine. "It doesn't seem major, if that's what you mean."
Dice-K to make rehab outing with Sea Dogs
MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka will remain on a five-day schedule after making his first Minor League rehab start Monday. Coming back from Tommy John surgery last year, Matsuzaka is set to pitch on Saturday for Double-A Portland in a 1 p.m. ET game against the Reading Phillies in Portland, Maine.
Matsuzaka's expected to throw 80 pitches. Double-A hitters are an upgrade from the Class A batters Matsuzaka faced Monday, when he threw 58 pitches over four innings for the Salem Red Sox in Virginia. Matsuzaka allowed three runs on six hits, including two solo home runs. He struck out three in a 7-2 loss against the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
"He threw a lot of strikes with his fastball, felt real good, first home run supposedly was wind-blown, next one was legit," manager Bobby Valentine said. "[He] felt good when it was all over and is ready to progress. Next start will be in Double A. ... They're home, Double-A's home, that's why he'll be there for that next start."
On the big league club, Daniel Bard remains in line to start Friday against the White Sox in Chicago. Bard, who last started April 16, pitched in relief Monday in part to help a struggling bullpen and in part to keep him fresh with 10 days between starts.