Buchholz rehab solid, set to return Saturday

July, 8, 2012
7/08/12
7:20
PM ET
BOSTON -- Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz threw a 43-pitch minor league rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday afternoon at McCoy Stadium and everything went as planned. Now, he's scheduled to start the second game of the Tampa Bay Rays series on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The PawSox's game was televised on NESN, so Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was able to watch.

"He looked pretty much the way we needed him to look for those 40 pitches," Valentine said. "I'm glad he got his spikes wet in Triple-A and he's confident he'll be able to give us some length on the second game out."

Buchholz tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings and allowed only one hit with two walks and three strikeouts against Syracuse on Sunday.

"It was hot," he said early Sunday evening in the clubhouse at Fenway Park. "I think it was the hottest game I've pitched in over the last year or so. Physically I felt good. Going out there and warming up I felt like I was going to get tired pretty quick, but it never really happened.

"I caught a second wind about 15 pitches into the first inning and it kept me all the way through the next two. Everything was good, just a little rusty there in the first. The command wasn't all that well with the fastball, but I was able to throw some curveballs for strikes and a couple off-speed pitches."

The right-hander has been on the DL since suffering a gastrointestinal bleed that resulted in a five-day hospital stay last month. He last pitched for the Red Sox on June 19.

He will throw again in some capacity during the All-Star break and is scheduled to increase his workload in preparation for his start on Saturday.

Buchholz has an 8-2 record with a 5.53 ERA in 14 starts this season. Now that his health issues are a thing of the past, he's looking forward to a strong second half.

"A whole lot," he said. "We're going to get [Jacoby Ellsbury] back, hopefully [Carl Crawford] and they're two keys to our offense and our defense out there. It's fun to pitch and give up lasers in the outfield when you got two guys like that who can go out and grab them. I think it will be good. I got my break so my body feels strong and healthy. I'm definitely ready to go."

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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