Buchholz: 'It's another step'

BALTIMORE -- Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz played catch from 120 feet Monday, another incremental step toward his recovery from the back strain that has sidelined him since his last appearance June 16, more than a month ago.

"It felt pretty good,'' Buchholz said. "It's another step.''

That is not the same, he added, as saying the discomfort has gone away. By the end of his game of catch, he said, the discomfort made its presence felt. "I think it may have been because of a little fatigue,'' he said.

That is the hope, that the setbacks are minor and Buchholz is well on his way to recovery. The next step after 120 feet, manager Terry Francona said Monday, is to get back up on the mound for a throwing session, even if it's not a full-fledged bullpen session. Buchholz isn't there yet.

"I think day after tomorrow,'' he said, "we'll play catch again. Maybe 90 feet, maybe 120.''

Buchholz is as aggravated as you might imagine about being shut down while his teammates go about the business of trying to win the American League East. Back problems? "I'm only 26,'' he said. "But there are a lot of moving parts when you pitch.''