DETROIT — Clay Buchholz will not come off the disabled list to start for the Red Sox on Tuesday and will need at least one start in the minor leagues before he does return to the rotation.
The righthander was scheduled to throw in the bullpen Saturday afternoon at Comerica Park. But lingering discomfort in his right trapezius muscle limited him to throwing in the outfield.
The Sox were hoping for Buchholz to throw 45-50 pitches in the bullpen as preparation for a start on Tuesday against the Rockies.
“Basically what we’re doing is going as tolerated with throwing,” manager John Farrell said. “It’s likely that at some point, we’re probably going to get him out on a rehab assignment, at least one start for now. But there’s no timetable for that. We’ve got to get him on a mound first.”
Buchholz has not pitched since June 8. The Red Sox did not put him on the disabled list until June 18 (retroactive to June 9) because they didn’t believe the injury was serious. Now it’s uncertain when he will pitch again. Buchholz is 9-0 with a 1.71 earned run average in 12 starts. The Sox are 11-1 in the games he has started.
Buchholz played long toss and did some pitching from flat ground. He told the trainers that he felt “restriction” when he followed through. The trapezius is a muscle at the base of the neck.
Farrell thought that Buchholz would be back by now. But it has been a slow process.
“While he feels improved over [Friday], it’s still a very slight improvement day by day,” Farrell said. “I don’t know that we had a point in time on the calendar where he felt like he’d be back. But we feel like it’s going a little slower than we anticipated.”
According to Farrell, Buchholz cannot further injure himself by pitching.
“The information and feedback he has gotten and we have gotten from everyone who has put their hands on him and examined him [is] that there would be no further shoulder involvement and the risk of damage,” the manager said.
“At the same time, it’s on the throwing side of his body. If he’s not comfortable we’re not going to jeopardize it in any way.”
Buchholz has said consistently that he does not want to pitch until he feels fully healthy. In 2011, he tried to pitch through a back injury and missed the final three and a half months of the season.
“Competing at this level, if there’s something that is there that is a distraction to you and feeling like you’re not 100 percent, then we’re not doing he or us any justice,” Farrell said. “There’s been repeated feedback given to him that he’s not putting himself in harm’s way. This is a situation that’s restricting his intensity. We’ve got to let it resolve and build from there.”
Buchholz will be at Fenway Park for treatment Monday, an off day. Farrell said he could get another MRI done if doctors decide that is warranted.
“There seems to be improvement but, again, not as quick as possible,” Farrell said.
The Red Sox will keep their rotation in order and start Ryan Dempster Tuesday. There are tentative plans to keep rookie Allen Webster in the rotation and on a regular turn. He faced the Tigers Saturday night.
Taking on Verlander
The Red Sox will get a look at Tigers ace Justin Verlander Sunday afternoon.
By his high standards, Verlander is having a down season at 8-5 with a 3.72 earned run average. He lasted only five innings in a loss to Baltimore Tuesday, giving up five runs on seven hits and four walks.
Verlander is 3-4 with a 3.38 ERA in 10 career starts against the Sox and actually lost twice in three starts against the Red Sox last season.
Dustin Pedroia is 0 for 16 against Verlander in his career.
“It’s actually kind of fun to face him. The guy is one of the best pitchers in the game,” Pedroia said. “The challenge makes it fun.”
When Andrew Miller pitched the ninth for the Red Sox on Friday night, it marked his first game at Comerica Park since Aug. 24, 2007, when he played for the Tigers.
Miller was the sixth overall pick of the 2006 draft by the Tigers and was rushed to the majors that season, making his debut in August at the age of 21.
The Tigers traded Miller to the Marlins after the 2007 season. He was one of six players packaged for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis.
Over the five seasons that followed, Miller never returned to Detroit or Comerica Park.
“I was either in the minors or on the disabled list,” he said. “It seems kind of strange all that time passed without coming back.”
Miller said returning to Comerica was a bit surreal.
“I appreciate the fact they drafted me and gave me a chance,” he said. “But I’m glad things have worked out the way they have with the Red Sox.”
Beato sent down
To make room for Webster, the Red Sox optioned righthanded reliever Pedro Beato back to Triple A Pawtucket. He threw two scoreless innings in two appearances . . . Mike Carp was in the lineup at first base Saturday night in place of Mike Napoli, who was 1 for 13 in his career against Tigers starter Max Scherzer. Carp was 1 for 4 . . . David Ortiz continues to lead the voting at designated hitter for the American League in the All-Star Game. He has received 3.2 million votes, more than double that of Texas’ Lance Berkman. The starters will be announced July 6. Pedroia is second at second base but nearly a million votes behind Robinson Cano of the Yankees. Napoli is third at first base. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is fifth among catchers. Fans can vote on line through July 4 . . . The Red Sox wives will host a children’s book drive at Fenway Park on Friday before the game against Toronto. The book collection will benefit Room to Grow, a nonprofit that seeks to enrich the lives of babies born into poverty. Fans are asked to bring children’s books appropriate for kids up to 3 years old. The organization has a special need for books in both Spanish and English.