Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/2/12

Is the old Clay Buchholz back?

The Red Sox right-hander, so confounding for the first six weeks of the season, appears to be finding

the range.

He submitted his second straight excellent start Friday in a 7-2 victory over the Blue Jays, pitching a

season-high eight innings and allowing just two runs on six hits while striking out a season-high seven.

Coming on the heels of a seven-inning, two-run outing against the Rays, Buchholz finally seems to be

building some positive momentum in a season that had disaster written all over it in April.

Buchholz's ERA stood at 9.09 in early May, but over his last five starts, he has lowered it to 6.58 and

eased concerns that the back injury that cost him half of last season was still giving him problems.

"I feel like my arm is getting stronger," Buchholz said. "Given the back issue last year, starting to

throw in the offseason this year was more of a precautionary thing rather than trying to get it in shape to

do 200 innings or so. It's getting to the point where it should have been in the middle of spring training

right now."

Buchholz had particularly sharp command of his changeup, which he was able to throw in virtually any

count. Buchholz has also been slowly ticking up his velocity. He routinely hit 94 mph with his fastball,

and the increased arm speed on that pitch made his 80 mph changeups that much more effective.

"Well, he was teetering there, he was searching and he told me he found something with his changeup

three games ago," said manager Bobby Valentine. "I think it's made all the difference in the world. His

fastball's a little better, so the arm speed with the fastball and changeup being the same, has gotten him

all these swings and misses."

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