Buchholz shut down for remainder of season

Righty diagnosed with flexor strain; McFarland receives better news

September 14th, 2018

HOUSTON -- After the D-backs' 4-2 win over the Astros on Friday, manager Torey Lovullo announced that right-hander will be shut down for the remainder of the season after an MRI earlier in the day revealed a flexor strain in Buchholz's forearm.

The 34-year-old Buchholz had missed nearly the entire 2017 season with the Phillies due to a partial tear in the flexor tendon in his right arm.

Buchholz was scratched from his start minutes before first pitch in Colorado on Thursday. He was 26 pitches into his 32-pitch pregame warmup when he stopped, feeling tightness in his arm. Matt Koch was pressed into starter duty with only a few minutes to prepare.

To fill Buchholz's spot in the rotation, two pitchers will receive heavy consideration -- Koch, who yielded four earned runs over three innings in Buchholz's place Thursday, and , who has appeared in 39 games this season and has pitched to a 4.76 ERA.

The loss of Buchholz puts more responsibility on the other starters, including the emerging Robbie Ray, who turned in a solid outing against the Astros on Friday.

"Robbie's been on a really good run for some time," Lovullo said. "He came in here and executed a very good game plan, went on lock down after the first inning. We need him to do that. He's in a good spot. I can tell by the swagger, I can tell by how he's walking around that he's in a good spot. We need him to do that."

Meanwhile, left-handed reliever T.J. McFarland was diagnosed with inflammation of a bone spur around his elbow, an ailment that is not expected to sideline him for a long period of time.

For McFarland, the news that his elbow discomfort was due to a bone spur came as a relief. He played catch on Friday with no pain, and he'll use that as a springboard to make further progress as the D-backs' weekend in Houston continues.

"Anything with the elbow, you immediately go to worst-case scenario, and it's not that," said McFarland, who last pitched on Saturday. "That's a positive, a silver lining there. It's a good result."

Lovullo emphasized that team doctors have not suggested shutting down the lefty for the remaining handful of games in the regular season. He sounded optimistic about McFarland's progress.

"He's been throwing the ball, and each day he's been feeling better," Lovullo said. "We sent him to Arizona just to get a baseline to see what's going on. It's not going to change anything. He's not been shut down by the doctors. If there's anything at risk, certainly, we'll go in a different direction. Right now, he's going to continue to throw, get off the mound in the bullpen and keep moving forward."