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Clay Buchholz throws off mound

BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz threw off a mound Thursday for the first time since the team discovered a stress fracture in his back, an important step as he tries to make his way back to action for the postseason.

The right-hander, who has been on the disabled list since June, threw an abbreviated bullpen session Thursday at Fenway Park. He threw 15 pitches from in front of the mound and then 15 from the rubber. Manager Terry Francona said that Buchholz did "terrific."

"He felt good, which is really good news," Francona said. "Everything has been terrific, actually. If there's a point when we need to slow him down, we will."

Buchholz is now scheduled for a full-fledged bullpen session on Saturday.

Francona said the club still believes there's a possibility Buchholz can pitch again this season, but they also want to make sure he's completely healthy.

"We haven't closed the door on the fact that he might be able to pitch, which is certainly important," Francona said. "The other thing is we want him to go home (at the end of the season) feeling good about himself. This kid is not only an important part of our present, but also our future. I think it's come together pretty well. He's done a good job."

Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.