Buchholz will follow no-hitter with relief

BOSTON (AP) — Clay Buchholz’s next appearance will have more to do with Jonathan Papelbon than Johnny Vander Meer.

The Red Sox rookie, who threw a no-hitter in just his second major league start, will pitch out of the bullpen for the near future, manager Terry Francona said Tuesday. So instead of trying to match Vander Meer’s record with back-to-back no-hitters, he’ll likely be setting up save opportunities for Papelbon.

Francona left open the possibility that Buchholz will get another start this season. No pitcher other than Vander Meer has thrown no-hitters in consecutive appearances.

“What we’ll do with Clay is try to get him on structured innings and out of the bullpen,” Francona said before Boston’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. “That doesn’t mean he won’t start a game again. [It’s] because of organizational philosophy, caring about innings, developmental innings, major league innings.”

Buchholz no-hit the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday as a spot starter pressed into duty because of an injury to Tim Wakefield. He was just the 21st rookie to throw a no-hitter, and the third to pitch one in one of his first two starts.

But the ball club is concerned that the 23-year-old right-hander threw 115 pitches in his historic outing, 21 more than in any Triple-A start this season. General manager Theo Epstein said after the game that Buchholz would have been pulled from the game if he reached 120 pitches, regardless of whether he had allowed a hit.

With a month to go in the season — plus playoffs — Buchholz is within 20 innings of his career high. Francona said the Red Sox aren’t willing to risk the young pitcher’s arm for the sake of a hot streak, so he’ll go out to the bullpen to set up for Papelbon.

“We don’t ever lessen our care based on how good people are,” Francona said, adding that the team won’t disclose how he’ll be used in advance for strategy reasons.

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