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Thursday, June 20, 2013
Next few days are key for Buchholz

By Chuck Pleiness, Special to ESPNBoston.com

DETROIT -- Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz is on schedule to make his first start off the disabled list on Tuesday.

But that could all change.

“We’re hopeful he’ll be on the mound here in the next day or two,” Boston manager John Farrell said prior to Thursday’s game at Comerica Park against the Detroit Tigers. “We’ll need him to in advance of Tuesday.

“The ideal scenario will be for him to get an extended bullpen that will have some ups and downs in it,” Farrell continued. “At this point, we’re still scheduled to have him on Tuesday, but we’ve got to get through some specific work sessions over the next couple of days to remain consistent with him.”

Buchholz was placed on the 15-day DL, retroactive to June 9, after suffering a strained trapezius muscle in his neck.

He can come off the DL on June 25, when the Red Sox host the Colorado Rockies at Fenway Park.

On Thursday, Buchholz threw from about 100 feet on flat ground, according to Farrell.

“We’re approaching the two-week mark where he hasn’t been in a game,” Farrell said. “Ideally he’ll get close to three (innings), which would be about a 45-pitch bullpen. That would be the target.”

His bullpen session is scheduled for Saturday.

If Buchholz suffers any setback along the way, a trip to the minors may be in store.

“Right now it’s intended for the bullpen, but if this plays out and continues to drag on then we’re going to have to adjust and not look to put him back in a major league game with too many days now once we get beyond the two-week period,” Farrell said.

Buchholz threw a bullpen session on Tuesday, but didn’t show enough progress to clear him to start this weekend against the Tigers.

“He begins to manipulate the baseball within his throwing program much earlier when you compare his throwing sessions to others,” Farrell said. “That’s just how he goes about it. That constant reinforcing of manipulating the baseball allows him to go back out in a game situation with some down time and still execute his secondary pitches as consistently as he’s shown given what we’re working through here.”