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Sam Galanis
Contributing Writer

The Red Sox are sitting 19 games above .500 without Clay Buchholz. That’s even better than when they had their ace. But with the All-Star break finally here, and the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles gunning for first place, the scary reality that the Sox may not stay at the top without Buchholz has finally hit.

AP Photo/Jim Mone

Luckily, Buchholz may start his minor league rehab as early as Thursday, when the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs are back home, according to MLB.com. He threw a bullpen session in Oakland on Sunday with no problems. As has been the case since his disappearance, there’s no exact timeline on his return. But John Farrell and the Sox are hoping to get him back in the rotation before the end of July.

As well as the Sox have been doing since that fateful June 8, it would be hard for any team to keep up at the pace that the Sox have been going at without someone of Buchholz’s talent. With Lester in one of his most intense slumps ever, and the rest of the bullpen being so inconsistent, the closest thing the Sox have to an ace is John Lackey, which is something I still can’t really believe I’m writing.

With a 9-0 record and a 1.71 ERA in the 12 starts he made before his injury, Buchholz was an AL Cy Young contender early. As of now, the Sox are set to go into a 10 game stretch against AL East teams after the break without him. Needless to say, the sooner Buchholz comes back, the better.

"Getting Clay back will be a huge boost for us, and that's coming," Farrell said according to MLB.com. "Returning to full health will be a key for us."



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Sam Galanis 7/15/2013 04:00:00 PM Edit
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