Clay Buchholz returning to Red Sox

OAKLAND, Calif. -- After throwing six scoreless innings Thursday in his second rehabilitation start for Triple-A Pawtucket, right-hander Clay Buchholz got on a plane and headed here to rejoin his Boston Red Sox teammates.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Buchholz pitched so impressively Thursday that "everything points" to him making his next start in the big leagues.

Buchholz, who went on the disabled list May 25 with a hyperextended left knee, allowed two hits, struck out five, walked two and threw 87 pitches for Pawtucket.

"Today was very good," Farrell said before the Red Sox opened a four-game series with the Athletics. "He was able to get up to nearly 90 pitches in six shutout innings of work. His changeup feel and execution was much improved, and the shape to his overall pitches was consistent, particularly with the way he threw his changeup today. A lot of strikes.

"He comes back to us. He's flying out here as we speak. His start was one that we all felt was needed, but he went about it the right way and comes back to us with momentum."

Farrell said he hasn't decided where Buchholz would be slotted into the rotation. If he pitches on his regular four days of rest, he would be available Tuesday at Seattle.

"As you know, we have a number of things that are moving parts, and I think as we get through this weekend, those decisions will become more clear," Farrell said.

Right-hander Brandon Workman is serving a six-game suspension for throwing near the head of Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria on May 30. Left-hander Felix Doubront was activated from the disabled list Thursday and is slated to start Friday.

This isn't the first time Buchholz has had to battle back from injuries. He spent time on the disabled list in 2011 with a stress fracture in his spine and missed time in 2012 with esophagitis.

Last year he went 12-1 but made only 16 starts because of a neck injury. Buchholz is 2-4 with a 7.02 ERA in 10 starts with the Red Sox this season.

"Unfortunately for Clay, there's been some interruptions in his seasons in the past," Farrell said. "Hopefully we've worked through a number of things that puts him in a place that the numbers that are on record to date this year are just that, they're in the past, and we get a guy who's kind of straightened out a little bit and is ready to go."

Also Thursday, Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino (right hamstring strain) was out of the lineup for Pawtucket with "overall stiffness" in his lower back and hamstring but still will likely join the Red Sox while they're on the West Coast.