The Red Sox are hopeful ace Clay Buchholz will make a rehab assignment as early as Sunday.
On the disabled list with a strained neck, Buchholz threw long toss Tuesday with plans for him to throw off a mound Wednesday. If all progresses according to plan, Buchholz will throw another bullpen session Friday and make a rehab start Sunday or Monday before returning to the rotation.
"Clay threw aggressive long toss at 120 feet today, came back in and threw a good aggressive flat ground," manager John Farrell said. "We're hopeful to get him on the mound tomorrow."
Farrell said Buchholz, who hasn't pitched since June 8, will need to throw two bullpen sessions without issue before making his rehab start.
"We think at least the first one to get is a less intensified one tomorrow, just incorporate the angle of the mound and know there would be no added stress and him feeling things, particularly in his follow-through," Farrell said. "If that were the case tomorrow, then we're probably looking at a bullpen on Friday, a more normal type of bullpen, before getting him out to a rehab start."
When healthy, Buchholz has been dominant this season, posting a 9-0 record with a 1.71 ERA. But health has been a continued issue for him. He missed a start in late May due to problems with his AC joint and injured his neck when making an awkward throw to first base against the Angels on June 8.
Michael Periatt is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.