HOUSTON -- Veteran right-hander Clay Buchholz, disappointed that his role as a key member of the D-backs' pitching staff has ended prematurely because of an injury, sounded resolute in his quest to get healthy and be ready for Spring Training next year.
"I just have to have the right frame of mind about it," he said. "I've done it before. That's a comfort, knowing that I have come back from something more severe, and done a good job. That's what I'm looking forward to."
The 34-year-old Buchholz was placed on the 60-day DL on Saturday, one day after the club announced the right-hander will be shut down for the rest of the year with a right elbow flexor strain. Right-handed reliever Randall Delgado was selected from Triple-A Reno and will join the D-backs bullpen.
Buchholz, who missed almost all of 2017 with the Phillies due to a partial tear in his right flexor tendon, will begin a series of PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatments and plans to be ready to audition for a spot on a Major League starting staff, whether it's with the D-backs or elsewhere. Though unhappy that his season ended early, Buchholz listed a couple of reasons to be optimistic, including the realization that unlike his injury last year, this one doesn't require surgery.
"Last year, it pulled the bone off my elbow," he said. "It's not that. It's more muscle. It's probably some fatigue I'm dealing with."
Buchholz was having a nice season for Arizona after joining the team in mid-May. He made 16 starts, posting a 7-2 record and a 2.01 ERA while recording 81 strikeouts and holding opponents to a .220 batting average.
He cut his warmup session short last Thursday after 26 pitches, minutes before he was to start against the Colorado Rockies. He said he felt something in his arm around the fifth inning during his prior start, against the Braves on Sept. 8, but he didn't think much of it, especially since he pitched into the seventh inning. But he knew something was wrong early in his warmup routine in Colorado.
"I wish I would have done it a little bit sooner, given them a little more heads-up and notice," Buchholz said. "I wouldn't have been helping this club out, going out there feeling like that. That was the hardest thing to do."
Next on the docket for Buchholz is offer support to his teammates as they continue their playoff push. When the season is over, he'll concentrate on recovering and readying himself for next season.
"I'll root my team on and be here for them if they need anything," he said. "I'll head into the offseason, get strong and come back next year."
Whether that's with the D-backs will be decided in the offseason.
"Everybody knows how I feel about Clay, and the team knows what he's meant, and the organization knows what he's meant," manager Torey Lovullo said. "First thing is to get healthy."
Delgado, 28, has appeared in six games for the D-backs this season, allowing four earned runs over seven innings. The righty reliever was designated for assignment by Arizona on July 25, released on July 31, and re-signed with the club on a Minor League contract on Aug. 18.
With Reno, Delgado allowed four earned runs over 18 innings for a 2.00 ERA. He recorded a .169 batting average against with 14 strikeouts in 13 appearances (one start), including a 0.93 ERA and seven strikeouts in five games after returning to the organization.
He'll be used in a relief role, but will be eased back in as he shakes off any rust that may have developed after Reno's season ended Sept. 3.
"We're excited to have him back," Lovullo said. "Stuff-wise, he was trending toward the Randall we remember. He's going to get to the ball. We'll use him in different situations, maybe not in high-leverage right now, but different situations, to stop momentum and get big outs for us."
Said Delgado: "Mentally, I'm strong. I've been trying to do light stuff, go through a routine. I've been playing catch the last couple days. I feel good. I feel like I can compete right now."