BOSTON -- While questions remain in regards to the Red Sox’s starting rotation, general manager Ben Cherington said he is confident that both Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz will be healthy and productive once spring training begins.
“They’ve both had really good offseasons,” Cherington said. “Our new pitching coach [Bob McClure] has been in touch with both, as has the medical staff. It’s been a really good offseason for both and we don’t expect any issues with either of them going into camp. We know they’re both motivated to have a good year.”
Buchholz missed the majority of the season with a stress fracture in his lower back and could have returned -- albeit as a reliever -- had the club reached the postseason. Beckett finished the season with a 13-7 record and a 2.89 ERA in 30 starts.
Beckett, Buchholz and Jon Lester make up the top three of the rotation, but there are still questions on the back end. Right-handers Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves will come to spring training as starters, along with Felix Doubront, Vincente Padilla, Aaron Cook and Carlos Silva.
Beckett (193) and Lester (191 2/3) were both shy of the 200-inning mark in 2011. Beckett has not reached 200 innings since a career-high 212 1/3 in 2009. Lester reached that plateau in each of the three previous seasons.
“Well, we’ve done a lot of math on that and [are] trying to add it up,” Cherington said. “It would be nice, I suppose, to have five perfectly healthy guys that you knew for sure would give you 200 innings per year. I’m not sure we’ve ever had that and this year is no different.
"We feel really good about the front of the rotation. We feel like we have a collection of guys that can win jobs and help us in spots," said Cherington. "We feel confident both Bard and Aceves are capable of doing it, but that’s not to say they will definitely be in the rotation. But they’re both capable and will come to spring training as starters.”
Cherington said there could be other options as well.
“We’ll keep our eyes open as we get closer to spring training, or even in spring training, if there are ways to strengthen the rotation,” he said.