HOUSTON -- Right-hander Clay Buchholz took another step forward Tuesday by throwing off the mound for the first time since July 17.
Buchholz said he felt "real good" after throwing 27 pitches, mostly fastballs.
"He came out of today's mound work feeling pretty good about himself," manager John Farrell said. "More importantly, he's built up enough of a foundation that we can build a mound progression for him to follow. That's still in the works, what makes the most sense."
Buchholz said his next step would be to throw a regular bullpen session, possibly Friday in Kansas City.
Buchholz began the season 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 12 starts before being placed on the disabled list June 9 with a neck strain. An MRI taken in June revealed no structural damage, but it did show that he has inflammation in the bursa sac area of his shoulder.
"It's just progression with bullpen [sessions]," said Buchholz, who last pitched June 8. "I'm trying to build up more pitches, obviously. I'm not sure how long it's going to take."
Buchholz proclaimed himself about 60 to 65 percent after Tuesday's workout.
"I went and threw all the pitches I had," he said. "It's a little sore at the moment. There's going to be a progression of bullpen [sessions] before anything else happens. The bullpen [sessions] are pretty normal, then some simulated stuff and rehab [games]."
Buchholz said he felt encourage compared with the last bullpen session he threw in Oakland prior to the All-Star break.
"It's definitely better than it was a couple of weeks ago," he said. "It's night and day compared with [the bullpen session in Oakland]."
Buchholz said he was not concerned with his velocity at this point.
"Velocity was not one of the things I was trying to do today," he said. "The ball was coming out of my hand good without trying to throw hard. That comes from not throwing for a while. The velocity's going to come when I start doing the bullpen [sessions]."
No timetable has been set for Buchholz's return.
"Today was 27 pitches of decent intensity, with all his pitches thrown," Farrell said. "He felt nothing [in pain] compared to his last bullpen session in Oakland. Today was a good step for him."
Gene Duffey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less