With lingering soreness in his right shoulder, Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz will be shut down for 2-3 days, manager John Farrell said.
An MRI Wednesday revealed inflammation in the bursa sac area, Farrell said, but no structural issues.
“I think that’s the most encouraging thing at this point,” Farrell said.
Farrell hopes to have Buchholz start a throwing program this weekend. The shoulder pain cut short Buchholz’s bullpen session Wednesday after about 18 pitches.
“He had two good workdays with more intense throwing,” Farrell said. “So there’s small amounts of improvement, but yet we’ve got to take a little bit of a step back here before we pick it back up again.”
Buchholz, who is 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA, has said he doesn’t want to pitch until he feels completely comfortable.
“He’s a fierce competitor and wants to be on the mound, and as well as he’s been pitching this year, I think everybody in our organization wants him on the mound,” Farrell said.
“The start-and-stop and the hanging on to the incremental improvements that were taking place, then him feeling like he was getting closer and then a step back, there’s some frustration there.
“But I think coming out of yesterday, there’s a lot more peace of mind knowing there’s nothing structurally going on here, and it looks to be something that will be dealt with in a very near term.”
The last time Buchholz took the mound was June 8 against the Angels, when he injured his shoulder fielding a comebacker.
Buchholz has judged his injury progress by feel, but Farrell said the team will be more structured in gauging signs of improvement.
“It was prescribed 48 hours or a two- to three-day shutdown just to let things calm down,” Farrell said. “We’re hopeful that sometime on the weekend, he’ll put a ball back in his hand. Then we’ll take him through more gradual steps.
“In the past, we’ve kind of reacted on how he felt on a given day. There might be a little more structure as to — no, there will be, there will be more structure as far as the number of throws, certain prescribed distances, just so we can track it more regularly in advance of getting back on the mound.’’
With the All-Star Game 15 days away, Farrell hasn’t ruled out Buchholz returning to the mound before the break.
“I don’t know that we’re ready to say that yet,” Farrell said. “But when he puts the ball back in his hands and how he feels and how we move through that first phase or two of the throwing program, then we’ll have to backtrack how many days it’s been since the last outing.
“We have a template that we will use with number of days down and the prescribed number of days going forward to get him back into the game. Whether that means one rehab start, whether that means two, that’s to be determined.”
No break for Uehara
Koji Uehara picked up the save for the second straight day. He needed just 16 pitches to sit the Jays down in order in the ninth.
In seven games this season pitching on no days’ rest, the 38-year-old righthander has allowed just three hits in 6⅔ innings.
“Each time that he’s pitched on back-to-back days, he’s been as efficient [and] as successful,” Farrell said.
Uehara took over the closer role when Andrew Bailey was demoted to long-relief duty.
“When Andrew Bailey’s struggles began it was a clear-cut decision that Uehara would be the next guy in that role,” Farrell said. “He’s pitched in that role in Japan, he’s saved a number of games in the States. I think the biggest thing for him is that he doesn’t change who he is or what he attempts to do regardless of the inning.”
Mike Napoli’s hip condition is not the reason Farrell has left him out of the lineup for five of the past 12 games. Part of the reason is rest and part of it is matchups, Farrell said.
“No hip issue involved here,” Farrell said. “I think at times his swing will get a little bit long, but that’s no different from anybody else that’s playing every single day, and if we can balance a day of rest in between to keep him fresh in addition to a matchup, that’s kind of what we’ll do.”
Although Napoli is hitting .273 with 13 RBIs in June, he has just two extra-base hits.
For the first time since 2009, the Sox were in first place at the halfway point of the season. Their 3½-game lead was their largest through 81 games since 2007. They’ve been the only American League team to stay above .500 all season . . . When Allen Webster takes the mound vs. Toronto Friday, it will be the first time he has faced an AL East opponent . . . Felix Doubront, Daniel Nava, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia led an on-field workout for 45 children from the Joslin Diabetes Center before the game, along with team strength and conditioning coach Pat Sandora . . . Following the game, the Blue Jays put outfielder Melky Cabrera on the 15-day disabled list with left knee tendinitis.Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.