ST. PETERSBURG -- Clay Buchholz feels improvement in his ailing neck and could start Sunday's road trip finale, against the Orioles.
If he can pitch then, he won't miss a turn in the rotation, and instead would start just two days earlier than originally scheduled.
"He continues to improve," said manager John Farrell. "We'll likely put a ball in his hand tomorrow to get his arm moving, to see how he feels, with the intent -- and the hopeful intent -- that he would throw [a bullpen session] on Friday. That's best-case scenario at this point. If he does get off the mound with no issues, he would definitely be a candidate for Sunday."
It isn't a be-all-end-all scenario for Buchholz to return by Sunday. Jon Lester could actually make that start on regular rest, which means the Sox could hold Buchholz back until Tuesday's day-night doubleheader against the Rays if need be.