Phillies acquire RHP Clay Buchholz from Red Sox for 2B Josh Tobias

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Phillies acquire RHP Clay Buchholz from Red Sox for 2B Josh Tobias

The Phillies made another buy-low trade on Tuesday, acquiring right-handed starting pitcher Clay Buchholz from the Red Sox in exchange for minor-league 2B Josh Tobias.

Buchholz, 32, spent 10 seasons with Boston and made the AL All-Star team in 2010 and 2013. He's had some dominant years — 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA in '10; 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA in an injury-shortened '13 — but he's never been the same pitcher from one season to the next.

Buchholz makes $13.5 million in 2017, the final season of his contract.

"Clay had a very productive tenure with the Red Sox, and we look forward to seeing what he can do in a Phillies uniform," GM Matt Klentak said in a statement. "He is a welcome addition to our young starting rotation."

To make room on the 40-man roster for Buchholz, the Phillies designated third baseman Richie Shaffer for assignment.

The Buchholz trade is similar to last year's acquisition of Jeremy Hellickson. Both were once highly-touted young right-handers, both started their careers fast and both experienced growing pains.

As with Hellickson, the Phillies are buying low on Buchholz. He went 8-10 with a 4.78 ERA last season, pitching some of his games in relief for the first time since 2008. The Red Sox's rotation was crowded even before Chris Sale arrived and Buchholz was the odd man out. Buchholz did finish strong though, allowing just three runs in 19 innings in his last three starts.

It's hard to imagine the Phillies paying Buchholz $13.5 million to do anything but start, so their projected rotation (barring injury) would include Hellickson, Buchholz, Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez. Aaron Nola is coming off an elbow injury and will have to show he's healthy enough to crack the opening day staff. Jake Thompson and Zach Eflin are also candidates.

The Phillies are gambling that the Buchholz they'll get is closer to the 2015 version. Just two seasons ago, he had a 3.26 ERA with 107 strikeouts and 23 walks in 113 1/3 innings before his year was cut short by an elbow injury.

Injuries have been common throughout Buchholz's career. In an eight-season span from 2008-15, he made seven trips to the disabled list for a right fingernail tear, a left hamstring strain, a stress fracture in his lower back, esophagitis, right shoulder bursits, a left knee hyperextension and the aforementioned elbow injury.

Buchholz's fastball has averaged about 92 mph since 2012, two ticks below where he was in 2010, his best year. He's changed his approach through the years to incorporate more cutters and fewer fastballs.

At his peak, Buchholz generated ground balls at better than a 50 percent rate. But his ground ball rate last season was just 41.2 percent, nearly seven percent below his career average.

With the Phils, Buchholz will get a chance to reestablish his value, a la Hellickson, as he heads into free agency. If he pitches well, perhaps he sticks.

If he fails, all it'll cost the Phillies is money they had available to spend and a minor leaguer at a position of depth.

Tobias was the Phillies' 10th-round pick in 2015 out of the University of Florida. He's hit .301 with an .801 OPS in two minor-league seasons, but his batting average dropped by 50 points as he made the jump from Single A Lakewood to High A Clearwater. 

The Phillies are not hurting for middle infielders. They have Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis at the major-league level, top prospect J.P. Crawford at Triple A, and second basemen Scott Kingery and Jesmuel Valentin rising through their system.

Phillies recall Jake Thompson from Triple A, option Ricardo Pinto to Lehigh Valley

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Phillies recall Jake Thompson from Triple A, option Ricardo Pinto to Lehigh Valley

After Monday night's rain-soaked blowout loss, the Phillies' bullpen seems to be a bit depleted.

With that in mind, the Phillies have recalled pitcher Jake Thompson from Triple A and optioned reliever Ricardo Pinto to Lehigh Valley.

After a lengthy rain delay cut short Vince Velasquez's start, the Phils' bullpen was charged with six innings of work in the 13-4 loss. Pinto, responsible for five of the runs, tossed 1 1/3 innings as play resumed in the fourth inning. 

He may not be down for long, though, as the Phils have an off day Thursday to recover.

Thompson seems like a peculiar choice to call up. He's struggled mightily this year in Lehigh Valley. The 23-year-old who came over in the Cole Hamels trade, is 4-11 with a 5.36 ERA. He's given up 107 hits in 94 innings pitched, as well as 36 walks on the year — one less than he gave up in 129 2/3 innings in 2016.

However, Thompson is already on the 40-man roster and has not pitched since going seven strong innings of two-run ball on July 20. 

Tonight's Lineup: Phillies showcasing Howie Kendrick in cleanup spot

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Tonight's Lineup: Phillies showcasing Howie Kendrick in cleanup spot

With less than a week to go before the trade deadline, the Phillies are putting Howie Kendrick in prime position to show off his skillset to a contender.

After sitting out last night's 14-3 loss, Kendrick returns to the lineup, batting cleanup and playing left field. In four games since returning from a hamstring injury, Kendrick has picked up where he left off, hitting .364 with two RBIs. Overall, Kendrick has appeared in just 37 games for the Phillies in 2017, but has been exceptional when healthy. 

Although he may not hit for power, his .350 batting average and ability to play multiple positions in the infield and outfield should be enough to interest teams. 

Cesar Hernandez will again lead off vs. the Astros. Much like Kendrick, Hernandez has had a strong return from the DL, hitting .321 with six RBIs in seven games since the All-Star break. He's also worked five walks compared to just three strikeouts. It's no surprise Hernandez's return has coincided with the Phillies' recent hot offensive stretch (see Game Notes)

Since the All-Star break, the Phillies have the seventh-most runs scored in all of baseball. Monday's loss ended a stretch of seven straight games of five or more runs scored for the Phillies — their longest single-season stretch since 2005.

Nick Williams will hit in the three-hole for the second straight game. Williams has sparked the Phils' stagnant offense since his arrival to the big leagues. In 20 MLB games, Williams is slashing .315/.350/.966 with four homers and 18 RBIs. 

Here is the Phillies lineup:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Nick Williams, RF
4. Howie Kendrick, LF
5. Odubel Herrera, CF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Tommy Joseph, 1B
8. Cameron Rupp, C
9. Nick Pivetta, P