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Clay Buchholz ‘getting close to feeling … normal’

07.03.13 at 6:25 pm ET

Right-hander Clay Buchholz estimated that he played catch at a distance of about 100 feet on Wednesday, the longest distance since he was shut down last week due to inflammation in the bursa sac of his right shoulder. Buchholz (9-0, 1.71 ERA) said that he threw with greater intensity in the session than at any other time since landing on the DL on June 8, suggesting that he was letting the ball go with greater freedom even than he did in any of his bullpen sessions while trying to return from the injury.

The team has outlined a plan in which he will have to throw with comparable intensity from 120 feet before he gets back on a mound. Buchholz said that he could reach such a distance as soon as Thursday, while suggesting a slightly more general target for doing so of “the next couple days.”

“I feel like I’m finally getting close to feeling pretty much normal now. So last few days of throwing are encouraging,” said Buchholz. “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 said if he feels good after his first rehab start ‘€” which is still several steps away at this point ‘€” he would like to return to the rotation. Farrell did not say a return after a single rehab start was likely, but didn’€™t rule it out, either.

‘€œWe’€™ll map that plan out a little more clear in due time,’€ Farrell said.

The team is trying to resist the temptation to put dates and timetables on specific steps in Buchholz’s rehab. As difficult as it has been for a pitcher who had been the most dominant in the American League through the first two-plus months to revise his targets, Buchholz said that he’s now simply focused on the goal of constant progress, while noting his appreciation that the Sox have played so well (13-9, a .591 winning percentage) in his absence.

“I’ve been anxious for a while now, frustrated, anxious, all of the above. Makes it a little bit easier when the guys are going out and doing really good,” said Buchholz. “It’s fun to sit back and watch that but you still want to be a part of it. Try to treat it as well as I can and get back there as soon as possible.”

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