Notes: Buchholz (back) throws from 60 feet

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Notes: Buchholz (back) throws from 60 feet

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON Right-hander Clay Buchholz, who has been on the disabled list since June 17 with a lower back strain, threw for the first time today. He made 25 throws from 60 feet.

Which is probably not, in the grand scheme of things, exciting, but it was for us, said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. Obviously, were going to go slow, kind of deliberate. But the fact that he did so well in his core work and in that step of the program is really exciting. Whether this turns into him pitching or not we dont know bit its still exciting in the fact that hes done so well to this point. And well just continue that and like I said, pretty deliberate, and well see where it goes.

Francona said Buchholz would probably throw every-other day for a while.

You won't see this escalate in a hurry, he said.

I think Ive said this probably multiple times: If you see him pitch, hes fine andit would be with anybody. Doesnt matter who they are. Were going to take this very deliberate and hes going to pass tests. The good news is he feels good. So whether he pitches this year or not, wed hate like heck for him to go into the offseason not feeling well.

Buchholz was satisfied with his outing.

"Yeah, just to pick up a ball and mess around, yeah, he said. Seems like its been all season. So definitely good to get out there.

I felt good. There was no pain, nothing holding me back. Obviouslyit was a light day, but it was good.

Buchholz is still unsure if he will pitch in the regular season.

I dont know, he said. I think its going to depend on whenever I actually start doing the pitching motion and see how that feels and see how it feels the day after that. But it felt good today, no restrictions, and no pain. So that was definitely a good thing.

The Sox stranded at least one runner in every inning and 16 total, tying a season high, which they set on April 10 against the Yankees. The Sox went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

At 3:59 it was the longest nine-inning game of the season for the Sox.

Ortiz extended his season-high hit streak to 13 games. He is batting .520 (26-for-50) with seven doubles, six home runs, 14 RBI, and seven walks in that stretch. His seventh-inning walk was the 751st of his career, moving him past Dom DiMaggio into seventh place on the Sox all-time list.

Jed Lowrie went 3-for-5 and his now hitting .329 (26-for-79) against the Yankees in his career. It is his third-highest average against an American League club, behind .333 against the Royals and .359 against the Rangers.

J.D. Drew and Kevin Youkilis each played a rehab game with Triple-A Pawtucket. Drew played right field and went 3-for-3 with a run scored. Youkilis served as the designated hitter and went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.

Youkilis is expected to play third base Wednesday night for the PawSox while Drew serves as the DH. If all goes well, Drew could be back Thursday with Youkilis coming back Friday.

With those two returning, the Sox are not likely to do anything immediately when rosters expand on Thursday, except to possibly add a pitcher. Ryan Lavarnway would also be called up next week.

General manager Theo Epstein and I talked about this numerous times, Francona said. I think were kind of on the same page. In fact, I know we are. You never want to get caught short. At the same time, just calling guys up to put them in the bullpen or sit on the bench, Im not sure thats in anybodys best interest. If we ever run short, we can get somebody up here the next day and these guys can continue to do what theyre doing. So, I think thats kind of how we look at it.

Francona has set his rotation for the three-game series with the Rangers beginning Friday at Fenway Park. Left-hander Andrew Miller is scheduled to pitch the first game, followed by lefty Eric Bedard, and John Lackey, who starts Tuesday night against the Yankees. Tim Wakefield is expected to start one of the games in the three-game series in Toronto beginning Monday, but Francona would not say which one yet.

This schedule gives Bedard a couple days rest, Francona said. Were going to back Wake up a little bit. Hes not going to pitch until Toronto. Just talked to him before I spoke to the media so he can figure out how to proceed and we can get him in the bullpen for a few days and as we get closer to that start he can start preparing for that, too. We also have a doubleheader coming up on the 19th against the Orioles at Fenway Park.

The Rangers have scheduled Derek Holland for Friday, followed by Colby Lewis on Saturday, with Sundays starter undecided.

Francona on Yankees starter CC Sabathia, who was 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA against the Sox this season before getting the win Tuesday night, while going 17-3 (2.40) against everyone else:

I really dont know why. Maybe I should. Certainly respect how good CC is and what he can do. Weve done pretty well against him. When hes made mistakes weve made him pay for it. Weve made him work really hard. Saying that, I dont think everybody woke up this morning saying, Yeah, we get to face CC. hes one of the best in the game and we still respect that. But weve done a pretty good job up to this point against him. Well see again tonight.

Bobby Jenks, on the DL since July 8 with left back tightness, is back with the Sox. He had been scheduled for a rehab game on Saturday with Single-A Salem, but was scratched when he became ill.

Hes kind of having a day where hes getting reevaluated and were kind of sifting through how to get him back on his feet, when to do it, how do to it, where to do it, Francona said. Hopefully well have some answers the next couple of days.

He got sick in Salem. We were going to send him to Scranton with Pawtucket. Then, we couldnt get him anywhere with the hurricane. It was kind of a mess.

Condolences to pitching coach Curt Young, who father died. Bullpen coach Gary Tuck will serve as the pitching coach in Youngs absence.

The Red Sox have announced the players they are sending to the Arizona Fall League, along with Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler, who will manage the Scottsdale Scorpions (comprised of players from the Red Sox, Angels, Giants, Nationals, and Phillies). Pitchers Brock Huntzinger, Jeremy Kerht, and Wil Latimer, catcher Dan Butler, infielder Will Middlebrooks, and outfielder Alex Hassan are expected. The Sox have one additional pitching spot on the Scottsdale roster they can fill.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz hopes he's made a case to stay in rotation

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Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz hopes he's made a case to stay in rotation

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 win over Tampa Bay Rays.

 

QUOTES:

"I didn't know I could really do that.'' - Mookie Betts, who marveled at his throw from the right field corner which nailed Kevin Kiermaier -- attempting to stretch a double into a triple -- at third in the eighth inning.

"He's playing a huge role for us right now. He's stepped in, he's built his arm strength and given us almost 13 very strong innings the last two outings.'' - John Farrell on Clay Buchholz.

"I don't know that we ever lost faith in the talent of Clay. He was in a rut for quite some time. . . But the jolt that he's given us from the spot starts he's made, he's kept us rolling.'' - Farrell on Buchholz.

"You'd have to ask John about that. I have no idea. I've tried to make the most of (the opportunity) and if a decision has to be made, make it a hard one.'' - Buchholz, when asked if he's made a case to stay in the rotation.

 

NOTES:

* The Red Sox improved to a season-best 17 games over .500

* The win was just the fourth for the Red Sox this season when scoring two or one runs.

* The win was the first for Clay Buchholz as a starter since May 9.

* David Ortiz moved into sixth place on the Red Sox' all-time hit list, passing Bobby Doerr with 2.043 hits.

* Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 10 games and has reached base in 16 straight.

* Andrew Benintendi recorded his eighth multi-hit game, the first Red Sox player to do so in his first 20 games since Jacoby Ellsbury in 2007

* Mookie Betts recorded his 10th outdield assist, placing him third among major league right fielders.

* Craig Kimbrel has a 1.08 ERA in save situations this year and 6.06 in non-save situations.

* Kimbrel has recorded a save in each of his last five appearances.

 

STARS:

1) Clay Buchholz

To say that this was Buchholz's best start of the season is to damn with faint praise, since there haven't been many good ones. But this was very good: 6 1/3 innings, one run on five hits with a season-high nine strikeouts.

2) Mookie Betts

Betts has only been a pro outfielder for a little more than two years, but that didn't look to be the case when he fired a strike from the right field corner to cut down a baserunner at third with one out in the eighth inning.

3) Craig Kimbrel

Kimbrel was dominant in the ninth, protecting a one-run lead with two strikeouts and a soft lineout to left.

 

First impressions: Buchholz's strong start helps lead Red Sox to 2-1 win

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First impressions: Buchholz's strong start helps lead Red Sox to 2-1 win

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays:

 

1) If this was the last start for Clay Buchholz, it was a good one.

Buchholz was brilliant in 6 1/3 innings, allowing just one run while striking out a season high nine hitters.

After contributing little in the first four months of the season, Buchholz has helped out in a big way in the last four weeks -- first out of the bullpen and more recently, in three spot starts.

He's made sone adjustments with his release point, giving him far better command within the strike zone, and unsurprisingly, far better results.

Now, the question is: how will be used going forward?

 

2) Monday night, Andrew Benintendi thwarted the Rays in the late inning. On Tuesday, it was Mookie Betts's turn.

Benintendi's catch to rob Steve Souza Jr. of a two-run homer in the eighth was the highlight seen 'round the world. But it's possible that a throw from Betts was, in its own way, just as important.

Like Benintendi's magic trick Monday, this one took place with one out in the eighth inning. Brad Ziegler retired the leadoff hitter before Kevin Kiermaier chopped a ball into the right field corner. Betts chased down the ball as Kiermaier rounded second and headed to third.

The throw from Betts, from the right field corner, was a strike as Travis Shaw slapped a tag on the runner.

Forget, for a minute, the wisdom of someone already in scoring position attempting to take an extra base while trailing by a run and instead focus on the magic turned in by the Red Sox outfield in successive nights.

 

3) Robbie Ross Jr. has become a significant part of the bullpen.

Ross took over for Buchholz in the seventh, with lefty Corey Dickerson and righthanded-hitting Bobby Wilson due.

Ross overpowered Dickerson and got him swinging at a third strike before retiring Wilson on a routine bouncer to third.

It marked the fourth straight scoreless appearance by Ross in relief and ninth straight on the road.

Ross probably doesn't have the pure stuff to become the main option in the eighth inning. But he has had enough success to be someone that John Farrell trusts in some high leverage situations and matchups.