BOSTON -- Any optimism that Clay Buchholz would be returning to the mound soon faded Thursday as Red Sox manager John Farrell announced that because of lingering soreness that resurfaced on the team's West Coast trip, his scheduled bullpen session was scratched.
Instead, Buchholz is now slated to be re-examined Friday by team orthopedist Peter Asnis.
Buchholz has not undergone an MRI since June 27, when the team announced there was no structural damage, but that the pitcher had bursitis in his right shoulder. The Red Sox had been encouraged by Buchholz's progress since, with Farrell talking last weekend about his starter nearing the point where he would throw a simulated game, then go on a rehab assignment.
But that schedule has been blown apart after Sunday's bullpen session in Oakland, where Buchholz complained of continuing soreness. Instead of playing catch Tuesday in New York, where he made an appearance as a member of the American League All-Star team, Buchholz did not pick up a baseball.
"We have every intention and hope and outlook that he will resume pitching this season," Farrell said Thursday, where the Red Sox held a voluntary workout. "I wish I could give you an exact date, to be honest with you. And Clay would, too."
Buchholz, hosting a charity bowling event Thursday night, has pitched just twice since May 22 for a total of 11 2/3 innings. He has been diagnosed at various times in the past five weeks with irritation of the AC joint and a strained trapezius muscle, both of which come into play for a pitcher in his windup and delivery.
"There's no one more frustrated in this than Clay, and that needs to be made clear," Farrell said. "This is a guy that ... he's a strong competitor, he recognizes the situation we're in and he wants to be on the mound. That's the bottom line. But at the same time, his body's telling him one thing."
At the moment, Farrell said, Buchholz is not scheduled for an MRI, but Asnis will schedule one if deemed necessary. The hope, Farrell said, is Buchholz will be able to resume a throwing program, but acknowledged he will return to throwing off flat ground.
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