FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves was asked what he thought a fully healthy Clay Buchholz could do.
Nieves, who coached Buchholz for the first time last season, shook his head, let out a whistle and said, "The sky's the limit."
Buchholz was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA in his first 12 starts last season. Those are the kind of numbers that put a pitcher solidly in the Cy Young Award conversation. But after that 12th start on June 8, Buchholz went on the disabled list for more than three months with neck and shoulder ailments. He didn't return until Sept. 10.
Buchholz is fully healthy this spring and doing regular work.
"We're very hopeful he lasts the whole season, and right now he's in with every other pitcher in terms of his throwing days," said manager John Farrell. "His progression to batting practice [Sunday], and everything that he dealt with form a physical standpoint last year he addressed in the offseason, shoulder strength is very good, so we're looking forward to another productive year from Clay."
Buchholz, listed at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, has always been whip thin. But it's not his body type that is a problem.
"It's probably a combination of nutrition and a consistent routine," Farrell said, of what's necessary to keep Buchholz on the field. "That's not to say that he's lacked in those ways, but how can we improve the nutrition to the point of giving him the fuel to continue to remain durable? And if there are times when that might not be there, is he starting to wear away or wear down the body a little more rapidly than otherwise? So this is all part of, like any other pitcher or any other player, you're always looking to adjust and try to remain at that optimal level as long as you can."
When he was asked if Buchholz needed to eat more, Farrell added some levity:
"This isn't a matter of Clay not eating," he said.
• Newcomer Chris Capuano, who reported to camp Saturday, had been scheduled for a bullpen session on Sunday, but the left-hander opted to throw live batting practice instead.
"After talking with him, he had thrown eight bullpens before he reported to camp, so he felt like he could jump right in and was wanting to see hitters," Farrell said. "He'd been up to 45 or 50 pitches in those previous bullpens. So he keeps himself in great shape and jumped right in with the rotation."
Capuano will wear No. 55 with the Red Sox.
• Daniel Nava has not taken batting practice for the past three days. The switch-hitter's neck bothers him when he bats from the right side. On Sunday, he stood at the plate to see some pitches but did not swing.
"Making progress," Farrell said. "Hopefully within the next couple of days he's back swinging the bat."
• Farrell said right-hander Jake Peavy, who had been bothered by irritation in his right ring finger, is progressing.
"He came out of [Saturday's] bullpen good," Farrell said. "And it was a step up in intensity, volume. He came out of it good."
• The Red Sox have set their pitchers for their first four exhibition games:
Thursday vs. Northeastern University: Brandon Workman and Henry Owens are scheduled to pitch two innings each, followed by Noe Ramirez and Burke Badenhop
Thursday vs. Boston College: Rubby De La Rosa (two), Matt Barnes (two), Miguel Celestino, Tommy Layne and Alex Wilson
Friday vs. Minnesota: Anthony Ranaudo (two), Dalier Hinojosa (two), Francisco Cordero and Andrew Miller
Saturday at Minnesota: Allen Webster (two), Drake Britton (two), Brayan Villarreal and Jose Mijares.
• Buchholz, Jon Lester and John Lackey are being held out for the first turn through the rotation. After last year's World Series run and additional workload, the plan is to allow them more rest earlier in camp, building up later.
• Mike Carp appeared in 86 games for the Red Sox last season, with appearances in left field, right field, at first base and as the designated hitter. Farrell suggested he may get some work at a different position this spring in an effort to increase Carp's versatility. Asked if that meant work other than at first base or in the outfield, Farrell replied: "Stay tuned."
Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.