Buchholz's next start might be on the DL

Clay Buchholz may hit the Disabled List (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Jan-Christian Sorensen Contributing Writer

The ongoing Clay Buchholz shoulder-injury odyssey took another turn for the worse Saturday, with manager John Farrell stating that the Red Sox ace won’t be taking the hill for one of Tuesday’s doubleheader games against Tampa, as had been expected.

Buchholz was tapped to toss a bullpen session on Friday, but the nagging problems with the trapezius muscle in his pitching shoulder haven’t improved, which means the Sox’s most solid starter to date (9-0, 1.71 ERA) may yet see time on the DL.

“Clay threw today and feels a bit better than he did yesterday, but not to the point where he’s going to throw a bullpen (session),” said Farrell. “We do have the benefit of the off-day (Monday) where we can keep guys on turn with Felix (Doubront) going on Tuesday, (Ryan) Dempster on Wednesday and stay on turn from there. Right now, we haven’t announced the other starter for Tuesday.”

However, it appears likely either Alfredo Aceves or recent call-up Rubby De La Rosa will fill Buchholz’s shoes for that Tuesday slot.

Jon Lester (6-2, 4.12) is expected to pitch the Sunday afternoon finale of the four-game set against the Orioles versus Miguel Gonzalez (4-2, 3.71), a start in which Farrell had originally hoped Buchholz would make his return to the mound.

Buchholz missed a start in late May with a sore AC joint in his pitching shoulder, and last week had to leave a game against the Angels early because of neck stiffness that could be related to the initial AC joint issue.

Farrell said the neck/trapezius troubles haven’t improved to the point where Buchholz can again toe the rubber.

"He's not to the point physically where he feels like he can get on the mound (Sunday) without the potential of a setback or irritating the (trapezius) muscle that he's feeling it in," Farrell said. "The AC joint, that's cleared up. It's more the trap muscle up near the neck, and it's restricting him from greater intensity."

If Buchholz doesn’t show marked improvement in his health by Tuesday, it’s possible the Sox could place the righty on the shelf for a spell, which means not only his Tuesday start but his following gig against the Detroit Tigers would require a fill-in.

"We've got a couple of moving parts right now," Farrell said.

Last Sunday, Buchholz vowed not to return to the rotation until he was confident in a clean bill of health.

“It’s going to be completely better whenever I come back,” he said. “That’s my purpose right now, to come back without this happening again.”

Twitter: @jan_doh