Buchholz impresses in rehab start at Pawtucket

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Buchholz impresses in rehab start at Pawtucket

PAWTUCKET -- If the Red Sox were thinking of starting Clay Buchholz in one of the games against Tampa Bay next weekend, nothing that happened in Sunday's rehab start for Pawtucket at McCoy Stadium would convince them otherwise.

After a rough start in which he allowed a hit and two walks to the first four batters he faced, Buccholz retired his final six hitters as he shut out the Syracuse Chiefs over a 2 13-inning, 43-pitch performance. The Sox were hoping Buchholz would be able to start three innings (he did), and he was only three pitches their optimal limit of 40.

His final line: 2 13 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts. His fastball, mired in the 90-91 range at the start of the game, topped out at 96 and he worked in a very effective changeup that helped him escape a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first.

Buchholz had last pitched on June 19. He was placed on the disabled list because of esophagitis, an inflammation that damages tissues of the esophagus.

"We're just looking for consistency," pitching coach Rich Sauveur said in an in-game interview on NESN, which televised the game. "He's had no problems with the arms, no problems with the legs, everything's fine. He just needs to get back up on the mound."

More to come . . .

Report: Red Sox DH target Beltran agrees to 1-year deal with Astros

Report: Red Sox DH target Beltran agrees to 1-year deal with Astros

Carlos Beltran, the 39-year-old switch hitter who was a potential target of the Red Sox as a DH, agreed to a free-agent deal with the Houston Astros, ESPN's Buster Olney reported.

FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports that it's a one-year, $16 million deal. 

Beltran played for the Astros in 2004. He was dealt from the New York Yankees to the Texas Rangers at the July 31 trading deadline last season. He totaled 35 homers, 101 RBI and hit .295 in 2016. 

The Red Sox, looking to fill the void left by David Ortiz's retirement, will be looking for a DH at the Winter Meetings that begin next week. One possibility is the return of Mike Napoli, who played for the A.L. champion Cleveland Indians last season.

More on the Winter Meetings here from CSN Red Sox Insider Sean McAdam.