Buchholz feeling better, but next start in doubt

Buchholz feeling better, but next start in doubt

Buchholz feeling better, but next start in doubt

ST. PETERSBURG -- Clay Buchholz felt improvement in his neck on Monday, two days after he had to leave his last start early, but the righty is still unsure if he will be able to take the ball Friday night against the Orioles for his next scheduled start.

"Again, I told them that I'd rather take care of this now," Buchholz said. "If that's pushing a start and mixing and matching a little bit, then we'll go with it that way. I still haven't really talked to the medical guys and [manager] John [Farrell] about what we're going to do moving forward. I think these three days here in Tampa are going to be the feeling out process, and we'll go from there."

Wednesday will be the key day. If Buchholz is healthy enough to make his side session that day, he could be ready to pitch Friday.

If not, the Red Sox might try to push his start back a couple of days rater than skip him entirely.

"We'll take the same approach we did last time," Farrell said. "Once everything is cleared up, that's when he's going to be a go."

By last time, Farrell is referring to the right AC joint injury that forced Buchholz to miss his May 27 start against the Phillies. He missed one turn in the rotation and returned to make his next two starts.

Buchholz thinks his neck injury, which he sustained on an awkward fielding play, is probably related to the AC joint injury.

"I think it's connected somehow," Buchholz said, "and they're so close together. Like I said, haven't really talked to anybody about that today. I guess we'll feel around today and see how everything feels and then go from there."

Buchholz has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, going 9-0 with a Major League-leading 1.71 ERA in 12 starts.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.