BOSTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- What was believed to be soreness from inflammation turned out to be a stress fracture of the back for Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz, doctors said.
The injury could keep Buchholz off the mound for the remainder of the season, although he could be well enough to pitch post-season, New England's Comcast Sportsnet reported Monday.
Buchholz has been out of action for six weeks because of back pain, but he had been working out and believed he was about ready to return to the mound when the back pain returned. A subsequent MRI showed he had a stress fracture in his back.
Buchholz told reporters last week he believed he was about 80 percent recovered from what was thought to be a possible strain.
"I think it's going to feel better," Buchholz said last Monday. "There was still a little soreness coming off after I threw. I sat down for about 10 minutes, did a couple stretches and it felt better. This is, I think, the biggest step in the right direction so far in this process."
Such injuries normally don't require surgery to heal, but do take time to mend on their own, the report said.
"Clearly, we have some concern for Clay," said Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein.
"I'll refrain from answering in too much detail until we have a chance to talk to Clay and we all have a chance to talk things through," Epstein said. "Clearly, any time a pitcher of his caliber isn't on the mound for a while … there's some concern."