- Gordon Edes, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell acted Thursday to scotch speculation that right-hander Clay Buchholz will rejoin the Red Sox after his second rehab start Friday, which will be for Triple-A Pawtucket.
“Everything right now points to him making a third start at the minor league level to get him to that 65-to-70 pitch area,’’ Farrell said of Buchholz, who threw 38 pitches Sunday for short-season Lowell and is slated to throw 50 to 55 pitches Friday for the PawSox.
“At that point, normally if it’s any other time during the season we’d like for him to get to 85 to 90, close to 100, but because we’ll have extra arms in the bullpen we’ll bring him back, provided everything goes fine after that third outing.”
Farrell had suggested last weekend in Los Angeles that Buchholz could join the Red Sox if he was ready to throw at least four innings. Better to have him throw them for the Sox, Farrell said at the time, than in a minor-league game.
Buchholz did not get out of the first inning of Sunday’s game, errors playing a big part in extending the inning, but Farrell said that wasn’t a factor in scheduling a third minor-league start for Buchholz.
“He’s going on three months missed,’’ Farrell said, “and there are certain things that we can’t skip along the way. You might say even three starts is fairly short, but given the time of the year, knowing that we can come back with maybe a four- or five-inning stint in his first time back here, we’re covered. That’s why everything points to three outings at the minor league level.”
Buchholz’s stint last Sunday was his first in a game since June 8, the last time he pitched for the Sox before being shut down with bursitis in his shoulder.
Assuming he makes a third minor league start and is then promoted, the earliest Buchholz projects to pitch for the Red Sox is Sept. 10, when the team opens a three-game series in Tropicana Field against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Sox will have 17 games left at that point; Buchholz would be looking at a maximum of four starts before the end of the season.