Red Sox's Clay Buchholz plays catch

Updated: August 31, 2011, 3:26 AM ET
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Pitcher Clay Buchholz, given the green light to resume baseball activity by the Boston Red Sox medical staff, played a game of catch with trainer Mike Reinold Tuesday afternoon. Manager Terry Francona said he threw the ball about 25 times from 60 feet, and the team has no plans to ramp up his activity in the immediate future.

"It's something I've been waiting to do for a couple of months now. No pain, no nothing," Buchholz said. "We'll take tomorrow off, and then stick with the program I've been doing, an every-other-day thing that I've been doing, and work my way up to getting out to 90 feet, 100 feet, 120 feet and go from there."

Buchholz has been on the disabled list since June 19 (retroactive to June 17) with a stress fracture in his lower back. It's still unclear whether Buchholz will be able to pitch again this season.

"We're going to take this very deliberately," Francona said. "We'll see how it goes. He'll do this (play catch) every other day for a while.

"Whether this turns into him pitching or not, we don't know.''

Buchholz, a 17-game winner last season, is 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 14 starts this year.

Meanwhile, outfielder J.D. Drew, who has been on the disabled list since July 26 (retroactive to July 20) with a left shoulder impingement, is expected to rejoin the Red Sox on Thursday after playing two games this week for Triple-A Pawtucket, Francona said Tuesday.

Third baseman Kevin Youkilis also is scheduled to play for Pawtucket on Tuesday and Wednesday, Francona said, and will be re-activated Friday, the first day he is eligible to come off the 15-day DL, which he was placed on Aug. 18 with a lower back strain.

Friday is also the day rosters can be expanded with other players off the team's 40-man roster. Francona said the team expects to add a pitcher -- Felix Doubront or Kyle Weiland figure to be strong candidates.

"But other than that,'' Francona said, "we'll almost take it day by day.''

Catcher Ryan Lavarnway also will be added, but since the Red Sox optioned him back to Pawtucket last Friday, he's not eligible to return until Sept. 5, Francona said.

The Red Sox have gone 8-3 without cleanup hitter Youkilis as Dustin Pedroia has batted .341 with a home run and an OPS of .913 in the 4-spot over that span.

Drew has missed 38 games to date, the Red Sox going 24-14 without him. Rookie Josh Reddick has received the majority of playing time in his absence, coming into Tuesday's game with a .283 average and six home runs. Reddick has struggled at the plate this month. In 21 games since his last multihit game Aug. 5 against the Yankees in Fenway Park, Reddick is batting just .140 (8-for-57) with a .197 on-base average and .246 slugging percentage.

Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in the report.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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