Buchholz optimistic he can return down stretch

Buchholz optimistic he can return down stretch

Buchholz optimistic he can return down stretch
ARLINGTON -- When the Red Sox return to Fenway at the end of this week, Clay Buchholz is hoping doctors will give him clearance to do some light throwing. The righty hopes this will be the start of a progression that will get him back on the mound at some point during Boston's stretch run.

Buchholz has a stress fracture in his lower back and last pitched for the Red Sox on June 16.

But he has been thoroughly enthused by the way his rehab has been going of late and thinks it's realistic he can pitch again in 2011.

"That's been my goal the whole time," Buchholz said. "It still hasn't changed. I feel better, a lot better than I did a month ago. I think the stuff that we're doing, it's working, it makes me more confident. It's getting more monotonous every day doing the same stuff, so I definitely want to be out of the training room as quick as I can. So that's my hope. That's what I want to do."

There's a chance Buchholz would be a reliever when he comes back, if only because that would speed up the process. With the Minor League seasons coming to an end, it might be a challenge for Buchholz to have enough time to get stretched back out as a starter.

However, he hasn't ruled anything out yet.

"I'll do whatever they want me to do," Buchholz said. "I'm a starting pitcher. I like going out there and starting games and setting up hitters and throwing six, seven, eight innings. Sometimes that might not be possible considering the time we have left in the season. We haven't really sat down and talked about it at all. As I start progressing as far as the throwing goes, that will be a conversation we'll have."