Even if Wakefield pitches, perhaps the Red Sox will finagle the rotation to get Buchholz a chance at en encore. That said, it is a delicate issue. The player-development operation always goes to great lengths to make sure no young pitcher throws too many innings in a given season. Buchholz has thrown 140 1/3 innings in 2007 -- his third season as a professional.
"We haven't told him anything yet because we don't know," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "There are some guidelines that have been in place about his innings, through player development, which make sense. For us to ignore that now that because he gets here and throws a no-hitter would be not very smart."
"Saying that, we're trying to win," continued Francona. "Theo and I were talking about it last night, we finally kind of came to the conclusion, 'Hey, you know what, let's go home and talk about this tomorrow' because everybody was on cloud nine last night. That's not a good way to make judgments. But we do need to be practical about his usage because it's still development. We'll see; I really don't know the answer to that right now."
Buchholz wasn't sure when he'd take the ball again.
"Flip a coin for that, I don't know when it's going to be," he said. "Hopefully sometime soon. Like I said, it's up to them. It's not up to me. If it was up to me, I'd try to start every day."
Francona was also asked if Buchholz would be integrated into a bullpen role for the stretch run, a la Jonathan Papelbon in 2005.
"It's not a bad question," said Francona. "I just don't have the answer. It's not just etched in stone that, OK, this guy is a good young pitcher. [He] goes from Double-A to Triple-A to the Major Leagues [and] all of a sudden you throw him in the bullpen in September [and] that it translates into a bunch of zeroes. I'm not sure how practical [it is], or if it is practical."
Papelbon was a closer in college, so the role was not unfamiliar to him when the Red Sox first asked him to do it. It might not be so seamless for Buchholz.
"He's the type of kid that, it looks to me, as he works himself into a game, he gets stronger," Francona said. "Having a guy come [in] that's never done it and having him throw in the eighth inning where you've got a couple of men on base, I don't know how that works. I'm sure it's something we'll talk about. I just don't know the answer yet."
Resting Gagne: It turns out there's a reason that setup man Eric Gagne has not pitched in one week.
"For the next couple of days, you might not see Gagne," Francona said. "His shoulder is a little tender. We tried to stay away from him for a couple of days. When he was going through that tough stretch, he threw so much on the side trying to get right that I think he made himself a little tender. If you don't see him for a couple of days, that's why. He's OK. Sometimes you have to get a couple of days."
Francona added that lefty Hideki Okajima, who has been bothered by some soreness in his hip, is good to go.
Drew returns: Right fielder J.D. Drew was back in the lineup Sunday, less than 48 hours after pummeling a foul ball off the top of his right foot.
"[It's] not bad, a little bit stiff," said Drew. "[It's] definitely manageable. Throw some tape on there and keep it from rolling over."
Initially, Drew feared the injury was worse.
"I didn't know what was going on," Drew said. "I didn't initially feel it. I guess it hit a nerve or something."
Sunday subs: With the day game after the night game, Francona went with a bit of a makeshift lineup Sunday that was minus Jason Varitek, Julio Lugo and Coco Crisp. Alex Cora started at shortstop, while Jacoby Ellsbury spelled Crisp in center and Kevin Cash caught in place of Varitek.
Manny Ramirez (strained left oblique) also remained out of the mix, and Brandon Moss started in left field
On deck: Daisuke Matsuzaka (13-11, 4.88 ERA) will go after his first victory since Aug. 4 when he opens a three-game series against the Blue Jays on Monday night. The Blue Jays counter with right-hander Jesse Litsch (5-6, 3.40 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.