CLEVELAND -- Clay Buchholz had the honor of being the starting pitcher for the Red Sox home opener last week.
On Friday night, it will again be Buchholz on the mound for another special game -- the team's first back at Fenway since the Boston Marathon tragedy earlier this week.
"I'm going to try to keep my emotions under wraps as much as possible," said Buchholz Thursday afternoon. "But given the circumstances, it's going to be a neat day hopefully one that is in pursuit of recovery for anybody that had to face losses with the family or losses to Boston.
"I'm looking forward to it as a baseball player, but I know it might be a little tough (emotionally)."
When Buchholz faced Baltimore on April 8, there were plenty of pre-game ceremonies and on-field events leading up to the game. There will be more of those Friday, but it will have a different feel.
"This is bigger than a home opener," said Buchholz. "I'm sort of at a loss for words. I don't really know how to comprehend a bunch of it, but it's going to be a special day."
Buchholz said he'll do his best to "think about my job that I have to go out and do. But on top of that, you have to know what this is all about and why the guys are going to get together and do as much as we can to help out in any way we can.
"It goes above and beyond it being another baseball game. It's going to be for the city of Boston and what the Red Sox are all about."
The Red Sox, of course, were boarding a bus outside Fenway minutes after the bombs went off near the race finish line and haven't been back since. They're eager to return to their adopted hometown and be part of the community again.
"I'm glad it was only a three-day series," said Buchholz, "so we can get back there and be a part of the healing process. I think everybody's looking forward to getting back and being there (Friday) and try make it as special as we can. It will be good for us to get back there and be a part of it."