BOSTON -- Clay Buchholz hasn't pitched in a game for the Red Sox since June 8, but the ace right-hander finally feels he is making progress from the neck strain that put him on the disabled list.
"It's finally turned a corner actually," said Buchholz. "I feel like I'm finally getting close to feeling pretty much normal now. So the last few days of throwing are encouraging. Like I said, I'm finally able to clear my head a little bit and go about it as just getting back to getting off the mound."
Buchholz played catch at a distance of about 100 feet on Wednesday. He needs to get to 120 before the Red Sox permit him to throw off of a mound.
"It could be tomorrow or it could be in a couple days," Buchholz said.
Once Buchholz is successful throwing off the mound, the Red Sox can plot out a Minor League rehab assignment.
"As far as the rehab stuff goes, me personally, if I felt good in the first start, I would ask him just to throw me back in there [to the rotation]," said Buchholz.
The Red Sox might take a more cautious approach.
"We have to look at the calendar and start to backtrack how many days [he's been out]," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We're a month away from his last start. Without sitting and talking to Clay a little bit more candidly or specifically on what he's experienced, we'll map that plan out a little more clearly in due time."
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.