Buchholz had surgery April 18 to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right forearm. He needs an estimated four to six months to recover, meaning his Phillies career likely is finished following just 144 pitches and two starts. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said last weekend that the team is "planning as though we won't see" Buchholz again this season, although Buchholz said he hopes to pitch in September.
"My goal now is to let this heal, get it well and if this team keeps playing the way it is right now, we'll be playing in September and October," Buchholz said.
The Phillies acquired Buchholz from the Red Sox in December, shipping second-base prospect Josh Tobias to Boston. But it was clear that Buchholz was not right. He saw significant dips in velocity in his only two starts, according to Statcast™. His four-seam fastball averaged 90.9 mph this season compared to 92.6 mph last season. He experienced similar drops with his sinker (90.1 mph from 92.5 mph) and cutter (86.9 mph from 89.0 mph).
"I wasn't 100 percent, but I wasn't 40," Buchholz said. "I was probably throwing at 85 percent, just trying to do what I was doing, get by and build arm strength.
"You have to pitch through some things. Some things jump up and get you. You let your guard down. I didn't feel this. That was the best I've felt in a game warming up before my last start [April 11]. It just sort of jumped up and got me. Me at 40 percent throwing is not near good enough to play at this level."
Buchholz expressed his disappointment that he cannot contribute this season. He is in the final season of his contract, which pays him $13.5 million.
"I apologized to just about everyone that I should apologize to," he said. "Obviously, I didn't want this to happen, but it did."
He said he specifically apologized to Klentak and to his teammates.
"I wanted to pitch," he said. "I wanted to be good. … I definitely don't think I'm done playing. I've stayed healthy for the most part. This is the first issue that has involved surgery for me. That's always scary going into. There are a lot of guys that come back. I've got a lot of buddies that come back from major surgeries and play for eight or nine more years."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.