Pitcher Clay Buchholz made his first appearance in the Phillies' clubhouse Wednesday since having surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right forearm last week.
Many initially believed Buchholz would be out for the remainder of the season -- and he still might be -- but he expressed optimism and believes he can return to the mound in September.
"My goal right now is to let this heal," Buchholz said. "Get it well and if this team keeps playing like they're playing right now, we'll be playing in September, October, so that's my goal."
Buchholz said he wasn't feeling 100 percent leading up to the April 11 game against the New York Mets when manager Pete Mackanin pulled him in the third inning.
"I told [general manager Matt Klentak] that I was sorry, and the guys in here," Buchholz said. "I was brought here for a reason. I wanted to pitch, I wanted to be good. I guess it's a good thing we have a good farm system here because they've been able to step up and fill in."
Buchholz had a similar issue with the Boston Red Sox in July 2015 and missed the rest of the season.
In his two starts with the Phillies, Buchholz allowed 10 runs and 19 baserunners over just 7 1/3 innings.
Buchholz, 32, will become a free agent at the end of the season. Given his age and the possibility that he won't return this season, the injury could significantly affect his value heading into the offseason. He's the second-highest paid player on the Phillies' roster at $13.5 million
But Buchholz wants to build the strength in his forearm and continue to pitch in MLB following this season.
"There's a lot of guys that come back," Buchholz said. "I have a lot of buddies that played this game that have come back from major surgeries and played for eight or nine more years. It's all about once I do get healthy, being prepared and building a strong foundation around my muscles."