Farrell: Buchholz set to return Tuesday

NEW YORK -- Some quick hits prior to kickoff in Buffalo (and first pitch in Yankee Stadium).

* Clay Buchholz has been penciled in for a start against the Rays in Tropicana Field Tuesday, when the Sox open a three-game series against Tampa Bay, manager John Farrell said. Buchholz threw a bullpen here Sunday after making three rehab starts.

“Seventy-five to 80 pitches is probably a reasonable number to throw,’’ Farrell said. “We know there will be an increase in intensity, as we look for him to make that first step back.’’

If Buchholz does indeed start Tuesday night in the Trop, it will be 94 days since he made his last start, June 8 against the Angels, in which he was a 7-2 winner and ran his record to 9-0, his ERA at a major-league best 1.71.

“Our goal for the remainder of the month would be not only to stretch him out, but to see if there’s a certain dependability we get from him. We really can’t expect him to come back and pitch to the form that led him to be a 1.7 ERA and the record that he has. But starting on Tuesday, if that’s the day he will begin with, we’re hopeful we get a guy that’s close to what he was prior to the injury and certainly will be an additional lift to this rotation.’’

Farrell said he expects to announce who is being dropped from the rotation after Sunday’s game. He offered a hint at his thinking when he said a “priority is who’s the most effective starter right now.’’

If that is the determinant, left-hander Felix Doubront may be bound for the pen, at least temporarily. Doubront has a 6.58 ERA over his last five starts, and has not made it out of the fourth inning in the last two, going just 3 2/3 innings in Boston’s 12-8 win over the Yankees Friday night, walking 6 while giving up 6 runs.

* Rookie Allen Webster was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to add bullpen depth. In Boston’s last six games, the Sox have used five or more pitchers five times, including in each of the first three games of the Yankees series.

* Neither Mike Napoli nor Shane Victorino were in Sunday’s Sox starting lineup. The days off were planned, Farrell said; with Monday’s off-day, that will give both players two days. Mike Carp was at first base, and the outfield had Jackie Bradley Jr. in center, flanked by Daniel Nava in right and Jonny Gomes in left.

* Jarrod Saltalamacchia was back behind the plate, after missing the last four games with a sore back.

* Jacoby Ellsbury was scheduled to be examined Sunday in Denver by Dr. Tom Clanton at the Steadman Clinic to determine the severity of the injury to his right foot. Farrell said he hoped to have more information after the game.