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NEW YORK -- Clay Buchholz moved a step closer toward a return to the Red Sox when he threw a simulated game Friday afternoon in the indoorbatting cages at Yankee Stadium.
"I felt fine," said Buchholz,who's been sidelined since the end of June with a stress fracture ofthe lower back. "Obviously its a littlemessed up throwing indoors because of the rain. It doesnt feel the same. But my body feltgood, so thats all we were looking for."
"He looked really good," reported manager Terry Francona."He threw the ball well and stayed in hisdelivery."
Buchholz threw 17 pitches to hitters who didn't swing, thenfollowed that with a 23-pitch session with hitters takingswings. He'll have a down day Saturdayand the Sox will go from there in determining what's next.
Franconasaid it's possible the next step will be to pitch in agame.
He added: "I can't imagine that happeningbefore Monday in Baltimore."
"Thats what were going to have to talkabout," said Buchholz, who later added: "Not throwing for three months and thenthrowing twice and being in a major-league game might be a littledifficult. Whatever, well have to see what happens from here.
With the seasonwinding down, there isn't much time for Buchholz to get the game-actionhe would need to pitch again forBoston.
"Thats the tough spot here," said Buchholz. "Im sure they wouldnt want to activate me without seeing live hitters in live games. I think thats the one thing in the situation is trying to speed up everything and make sure Im ready to go into a game and everything feels good in a game. Like I said, thats sort of where were at with that.