(Photo/Michael Dwyer/AP Photo)
The Boston Red Sox are looking forward to the day, in the near future, when Clay Buchholz returns to the big league starting rotation and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer.
Buchholz is likely to start for one of Boston’s minor league teams on Sunday while he works to come back from a right bursa sac strain. This comes on the heal of his three simulated innings Tuesday against teammates Mike Napoli, Xander Bogaerts and David Ross.
Buchholz will toss a bullpen session on Friday in Los Angeles and if there are no setbacks, he will start pitching in rehab games on Sunday.
The Red Sox are hoping their starting pitcher can make three rehab starts before joining the big league club. However, in order for this to happen, one of their minor league affiliates would need to make the postseason with most minor league seasons end Sept. 2.
Buchholz will likely get at least two minor league rehab games in before the end of the minor league regular season and with the rosters expanding on Sept. 1, he could throw a shortened game in his return to the rotation. The starter should return to the Red Sox rotation by the first week in Sept., barring there are no set backs, and will likely see four starts before the regular season ends.
The Red Sox minor league affiliates are in the hunt for postseason baseball and it is likely at least one of the local teams make it there. As of Aug. 20, the Pawtucket Red Sox (Triple-A) sit only a game out of first place in the International League North division, the Lowell Spinners (Single-A Short) sit a half-game out of first in the New York-Penn League Stedler division, while the Portland Sea Dogs (Double-A) are seemingly out of contention sitting 18 games out of first.
In the end, the return of Buchholz to the starting rotation will be huge for the Red Sox, seeing he was 9-0 with a 1.72 ERA in 12 starts before going out with this injury.
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