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Clay Buchholz throws long toss; rehab start next?

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The Red Sox are currently without their ace, but he is working his way back to the mound.

Jim Rogash

Clay Buchholz hasn't pitched for the Red Sox since June 8, but that could be changing soon. He's currently on the disabled list with a sore trapezius, but threw what Red Sox manager John Farrell described as "aggressive" long toss on Tuesday. As long as there are no setbacks between now and this weekend, Buchholz should be able to make a rehab start on Sunday or Monday.

The Red Sox will first attempt to have Buchholz throw off of a mound on Wednesday, though, and so long as that works out fine and without pain, have Buchholz throw a bullpen session on Friday. Since he's been out for so long now, he has to work his way back slowly, and can't just jump back to a big-league mound -- the Sox have to go through all of these sessions to make sure he's healthy, and then ease him back in against minor-league hitters in game that doesn't affect the big-league standings.

With Jon Lester pitching poorly, Franklin Morales on the disabled list and ineffective, and Allen Webster not at a point one could call reliable just yet, Buccholz's absence is a potential problem. Boston needs him back in a division as tight as the AL East, but if they can survive his lengthy DL stint and come out of it still in first place, then, at the least, they've managed to weather a difficult storm despite their lack of an ace.

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