Buchholz, Beckett, Delcarmen set for rehab

Three Red Sox pitchers on the disabled list appear close to returning to the club as the team gears up to start the unofficial second half of the season.

* Reliever Manny Delcarmen, on the shelf with a forearm strain, will pitch an inning for Double-A Portland on Thursday in what manager Terry Francona hopes will be his only rehab outing.

“I think Manny throws his inning and as long as he feels like we think he’s going to feel we can get him back on the weekend, which is terrific,” Francona said during his weekly interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI.

* Starter Clay Buchholz, recovering from a hamstring strain, will start for Triple-A Pawtucket in Syracuse on Friday. The Red Sox will start Felix Doubront against the Rangers that night.

Buchholz had insisted after the All-Star Game Tuesday night in Anaheim that he did not know whether he would be pitching for the Red Sox or making a rehab start, although he suspected he might be sent out.

“[Buchholz has] thrown, it will end up being one inning in like 21 days,” Francona said, “that’s not putting him in a good spot to pitch in a major league game.”

All indications are that Buchholz will return to the Red Sox after that start.

* Finally, Josh Beckett, who has been out since mid-May with a lower back strain, will make his second rehab start with Pawtucket on Saturday. Francona said the hope is that Beckett would throw 75-80 pitches and the team would then determine his next step. It’s conceivable he could make his next start sometime on Boston’s upcoming West Coast trip.

“Things are starting to look bright for us, guys are on their way back,” Francona said. “We’ll just see where they are after they pitch.”