Notes: Buchholz booked for next start

Notes: Buchholz booked for next start

TORONTO -- It's hard to go from pitching a no-hitter to being the forgotten man, but Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz has been hard to find of late -- at least in the box score.

Ever since Buchholz followed up his no-no with three shutout innings in relief while earning the win at Baltimore on Sept. 6, he's been reduced to side work before select games and spectator status during them.

But that will change Wednesday when Buchholz makes a spot start in place of Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has been moved back to Saturday so the Red Sox can finagle their rotation so it lines up right down the stretch.

The third start of Buchholz's Major League career will come following 12 days of rest, though the Red Sox have kept him on a regular throwing program.

"It's been a little bit different being in the bullpen but I think going back to at least one more start would probably be better for me," said Buchholz. "I've tried to stay as close to that routine as I could being in the bullpen without getting to do all the stretching and running and stuff that I've been able to do before the games. I think going back to that will be a lot better."

The rest has been by design, as the Red Sox wanted to keep a ceiling on his innings for this season, as they do for all of their starting pitching prospects.

"It feels like I haven't pitched in a month," Buchholz said. "That hadn't happened for me all year or the last couple of years. But I think the rest is helpful."

Buchholz would certainly be a candidate to be a reliever on the postseason roster, but he might have to shake a little rust off first.

"It might take me a little bit longer to get ready as far as mechanics-wise," said Buchholz. "I think after I get back in tune, I'll be all right."

By re-aligning the rotation, the Red Sox now have Matsuzaka slotted behind Josh Beckett, who will pitch Friday night. Curt Schilling will pitch the final game of the road trip on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.

Youk out again: It appears it will be at least a few more days before Kevin Youkilis returns to action. The first baseman suffered a contusion of his right wrist after being hit by a Chien-Ming Wang offering on Saturday against the Yankees.

Was Youkilis feeling any better on Monday?

"No," Youkilis said. "But I'll get there."

The main thing is for the swelling to go down.

"He's got a lot of swelling that's gone down to his thumb, which doesn't make anything feel better," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "It's like, he bruised the tendon. He got hit so hard, the trauma ... he's sore. He's going to start trying to do some mild exercises. It's his throwing hand, it's his top hand. He got hit hard."

In the meantime, Eric Hinske will continue to hold down the fort at first base. If Francona needed a backup, Alex Cora would be the first option.

Manny still out: Another series started with slugger Manny Ramirez out of the Boston lineup. It was the 19th game in a row Ramirez has missed since straining his left oblique at Yankee Stadium.

"The medical people have gotten fairly aggressive," said Francona. "[He's] swinging the bat fairly aggressively. But there has to be a ... confidence from himself that he can go play the game and not hurt himself. That's a hard thing, myself included, you see him hit the ball on the street [in batting practice] and you go, 'Oh man,' but you can really make some disastrous mistakes trying to read somebody else's body. It just doesn't work."

The deciding factor for when Ramirez will be ready to play?

"To be able to know that you can take a swing and know yourself that it's OK," said Francona. "Even if [he feels] something, [knowing] it's not enough to hurt myself."

Mirabelli out again: Backup catcher Doug Mirabelli was again unable to catch Tim Wakefield, thanks to a left hamstring injury suffered on Sept. 6.

Kevin Cash got the start behind the plate.

"I actually was going to play [Mirabelli] and didn't," said Francona. "I did more homework and realized it would be a big mistake. He wants to be ready. He would play right now. I don't think he's ready. So we'll kind of give it another go-around. I think I would have walked right into making a mistake. Dougie would have gotten on base in the third inning or whatever and he hurts himself again because he's not really ready."

Mirabelli did come off the bench and catch an inning after Francona pinch-hit for Kevin Cash in the top of the eighth.

Regular work for Gagne: In the time between now and the end of the regular season, Francona will be more consumed with getting reliever Eric Gagne regular work than which situations he is used in. Because of the layoff Gagne had due to the tenderness in his right shoulder, Francona feels it is essential to get the setup man in a groove and feeling good about all his pitches.

"Hopefully it lines up where we have a lead," said Francona. "But if we don't, we don't want him sitting, so he can use his pitches. We can't just sit and wait for opportunities where we have a lead. We want to get him throwing consistently."

Coming up: The Red Sox send left-hander Jon Lester (4-0, 4.86) to the mound for Tuesday night's middle game of this series. The Jays counter with A.J. Burnett (8-7, 3.42), who has been strong of late. First pitch is set for 7:07 ET.

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.