Clay Buchholz hasn't pitched in the majors since June 8 thanks to a trapezius injury and inflammation, but the Red Sox have setup a plan to work him back to Boston. Buchholz will throw multiple bullpen sessions this week while the Red Sox are in Seattle to face the Mariners, with the purpose being to see if he's ready to make a rehab start on July 14.
It's important, from a timing perspective, that Buchholz be prepared for the 14th. It's the last day of minor-league play before the All-Star break, meaning Buchholz would be sneaking in a rehab appearance before the mandatory rest period for the league, so his days off in between rehab starts would be days off for everyone. If all goes to plan, he would then make a second rehab start: Buchholz recently stated that he thinks one will do the trick, but manager John Farrell has his reasons for the double rehab start assignment, according to MLB.com's Ian Browne:
"There's some reconditioning that has to go on here and you can't shortcut that," said Farrell. "What we don't want to do is put Clay or us in a position to be limited by a certain pitch count that has the potential of overtaxing the bullpen."
In short, it sounds like they'll throw Buchholz for a few innings his first time out, limiting what he can do. Then, assuming there is no setback in that start, he'll be able to ramp up a bit with the goal of returning to normalcy in that second rehab start.
Because of the timing of the starts, Buchholz wouldn't be able to come back until July 24, when the Red Sox face the Rays. Given the history of Buchholz against the Rays, that wouldn't necessarily be a bad way for him to come back to the Sox. If there is a setback, Buchholz won't be able to return until roughly the July 31st trade deadline, if not later, and that could change their plans for a trade -- it's important, in multiple ways, that Buchholz return before that time.
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