ST. PETERSBURG -- All-Star right-hander Clay Buchholz threw off the mound on Wednesday for the first time since straining his left hamstring running the bases on June 26.

"He threw a side [session] today and did real well," said manager Terry Francona. "I think he [threw] 44 [pitches], but [it was] a pretty aggressive side [session]. He felt good. He's going to go out and do his agility work and go out for BP. He's doing his lifting now, but he was pretty upbeat about it."

Buchholz will do some running while Boston is in Toronto over the weekend, and if all goes well, he'll throw another side session at Fenway on Wednesday during the team's optional workout. The Red Sox open the second half on July 15, and Buchholz said that he was told he'll likely pitch the second game after the break, if all goes well.

"I feel pretty good," said Buchholz. "We're going in the right direction. It was good just to get the feel of it. I felt fine throwing [on] flat ground, so I had a pretty good idea that I'd feel pretty good."

Just in case Buchholz has a setback, Boston will keep lefty Felix Doubront on the roster through the All-Star break. Doubront filled in for Buchholz on Tuesday against the Rays and kept the Red Sox in the game, giving up five hits and two runs over 5 2/3 innings.

By keeping Doubront on the roster, the Red Sox could also use him in the bullpen towards the end of the weekend in Toronto if they run into an emergency situation.

Shealy promoted to give Sox depth at first

ST. PETERSBURG -- Another day, another new face in the Red Sox's clubhouse. Ryan Shealy, who spent the past 18 games at Triple-A Pawtucket, was summoned to the Major Leagues for the first time since 2008, when he was with the Royals.

The big first baseman is here as insurance in the event that Kevin Youkilis suffers a setback from the jammed right ankle he suffered in Tuesday's game. Youkilis was back in the Boston lineup, batting fourth on Wednesday night against Tampa Bay lefty David Price.

"Well, he's got a power bat and he had 12 home runs [in the Minors]," said manager Terry Francona. "I haven't seen him play for a while. I remember [him] in Kansas City, but that's been a while. If he's playing, that means something happened to Youk. Again, we're just trying to protect ourselves a little bit."

When Youkilis had to leave Tuesday's game in the fourth inning, the Red Sox had to put utility infielder Niuman Romero in the cleanup spot, and David Ortiz was walked intentionally for three consecutive at-bats. Romero grounded out to end Tuesday's game, and it might have been the final act of his brief tenure in a Boston uniform. Romero was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Shealy.

Shealy, who has 19 homers and 94 RBIs in 594 at-bats, was excited to be back in a Major League environment again.

"It was real exciting," said Shealy. "It happened really quick. They told me last night at about midnight that I needed to get on a plane, and I flew out of Lehigh Valley at seven this morning. It was great."

After signing a Minor League deal with the Sox, Shealy hit .246 with two homers and 18 RBIs in 61 at-bats for Pawtucket.

"I feel pretty good right now," said Shealy. "I got off to kind of a rough start this year, but I'm feeling pretty good right now. No one ever counted on this many injuries happening. I was just trying to do my thing down there and take care of myself, and if the opportunity presented itself, I was going to be ready. So here I am."

Ellsbury to Toronto, then Fort Myers

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Red Sox have finalized Jacoby Ellsbury's upcoming rehab schedule. The center fielder, who has been working out at the Athletes' Performance Institute in Tempe, Ariz., for the last month, will work out under the supervision of the Red Sox this weekend in Toronto.

On Monday, while the rest of the team starts the All-Star break, Ellsbury will report to the team's Spring Training complex in Fort Myers, Fla., and work out there until he is ready to start a Minor League rehab assignment.

Ellsbury, who is recovering from fractures in his left ribs, is ready to resume baseball activities, which is why he is leaving the controlled environment of Arizona.

"He can do everything that's structured down there -- medical and baseball," said manager Terry Francona. "If anything, that's the best way to do it."

Ellsbury has played just nine games for the Red Sox this season.

Bowden gives the Red Sox a bullpen option

ST. PETERSBURG -- Though right-handed prospect Michael Bowden is a starting pitcher, he is being transitioned to the bullpen at Triple-A Pawtucket with the idea that he can help the Red Sox in that role at some point after the All-Star break.

Bowden, who is 4-3 with a 3.77 ERA in 16 starts for Pawtucket, has been pitching well of late.

The setup crew has been an area of weakness for the Red Sox in recent weeks, particularly with Manny Delcarmen on the disabled list. If Bowden can step up, it would lessen the need for general manager Theo Epstein to get another arm from outside the organization.

"I think that with all we've been through, not just this year, but in past years at the Trading Deadline with bullpen guys, I think we feel somewhat [more] comfortable with our own guys," said manager Terry Francona. "Theo has been pretty open about how it's a crapshoot. I agree with him. So rather than do something like that, we'll give in-house [guys] every opportunity. There's a lot to like about Michael. He hasn't really done this too much. I think the idea is solid. It doesn't mean he can't start in the future.

"I think right now he's built his innings up this year and he's really throwing well, so it has a chance to be a really helpful thing for the big league team."

As for Delcarmen, who is sidelined with a right forearm strain, he hopes to throw a side session this weekend in Toronto and return shortly after the All-Star break.