Friday, October 26, 2007

Buchholz unplugged

Prized Boston pitching prospect Clay Buchholz -- he of the no-hitter against Baltimore -- was in town Friday to help promote the Centenary Gents baseball team's golf tournament. The event takes place Nov. 9 at Olde Oaks.

The right-hander candidly discussed his first couple of months as a member of the Red Sox, which included the no-hitter, an AL East championship and an introduction into the Red Sox fraternity of focused, but entertaining, personalities.

Here's a sampling of some of the 23-year-old Texan's gems from our interview:

On how the no-hitter changed his life: "It was a complete 180-degree turn overnight. You go from being able to walk down the street to not being able to step foot out of your apartment. It’s all fun though. I can see where it would get old a little bit, but you play for the fans. It was almost like they were more excited for it than I was. That’s the way it worked out. My life has changed a lot in the last month, but it’s all been for the good."

On his 2007 season in general: "Words can’t describe what I’ve been able to go through this year. It’s hard to put words to it because it’s like things that you dream about are happening and you don’t know how to explain yourself. The only word I can say that could explain it would be ecstatic. Going up there, getting a taste, getting the win in your first game and the next game doing something that’s not done a lot. It’s been a great year for me. "

On Red Sox closer and aspiring Riverdancer Jonathan Papelbon: "I didn’t ask for any (dance lessons), but I think he’d freely hand them out if anyone wanted to learn. That was pretty good. The Riverdance was really good. I don’t know if he stood in front of the mirror in his spare time and learned how to do it. He’s an awesome guy. He’s always upbeat. You see him come in in the 8th or 9th inning and that’s what he loves to do. That’s his passion and he’s good at it."

On catcher Jason Varitek and his meticulous preparation for each game: "That guy is the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Three hours before a game he’s going over his books and stats Three hours after the game he’s going over the same things. He's so focused and prepared on what he has to do and what the pitcher has to do. He’s taking care of himself, his at-bats and the pitcher. It's a tough job but that’s why he’s the captain."

On teammate and fellow Texan Josh Beckett: "He’s a hardcore guy. He’s a workhorse. He does everything 10 times as much as he needs to to be good at it. I got to sit down and talk to him alot about the offseason and what he does and what he wanted me to do to come back and be in the rotation next year. He gave me some constructive criticism and I took and I’m going to work out and be stronger and healthier than every before."


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