Buchholz could begin rehab assignment Sunday

Buchholz could begin rehab assignment Sunday
August 20, 2013, 9:15 pm
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(AP Photo)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Clay Buchholz threw a three-inning simulated game Tuesday afternoon at AT&T Park and is now just five days away from beginning a rehab assignment that he hopes will return him to the Red Sox rotation in early September.
     
Buchholz threw 46 pitches -- over three simulated innings -- against teammates Mike Napoli, David Ross and rookie Xander Bogaerts.
     
"The intensity was up, even from the bullpens I've been throwing," said Buchholz, who last pitched in a big league game on June 8. "I felt good."
     
Buchholz will throw a bullpen Friday at Dodger Stadium, with the intent on throwing a rehab start Sunday, likely for the team's Rookie Ball affiliate in Lowell.
     
Finally, Buchholz can see his way clear toward rejoining the Red Sox in the not-too-distant future.
     
"It's obviously taken a lot longer than I wanted it to," said Buchholz, who has been sidelined with inflammation in the bursa sac near his right shoulder. "But if everything keeps going as everybody wants it go, my body is going to be well-rested for an opportunity to help these guys and our team make a push toward the end of the season."
     
Buchholz mixed his secondary pitches and "everything was good. That's usually the last things that come (after) being down a significant period of time. But I threw everything today and the spin on all the off-speed stuff and changes up was fine. It was good to feel that and good to face some guys that are taking some swings off me."
     
Manager John Farrell said Buchholz is "probably looking at three" rehab appearances. Presumably, that would include one Sunday, another by the middle of next week, and another in the first week of September.
     
Most minor league regular season schedules end on Labor Day, Sept. 2, but some of the team's affiliates could qualify for the playoffs and extend the schedule, giving Buchholz a venue from which he could continue to pitch.
     
And, as Farrell noted, since it will be September -- with expanded rosters -- by the time Buchholz is ready to make his return to a big league mound, the Sox would have additional pitchers available to them to cover for a shorter outing by Buchholz.
     
"If that third one is a progression (on pitch count) at the major league level," said Farrell, "we could use that as well."