TORONTO -- It continues to be slow going for Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew in his quest to be cleared to play again after jamming the middle finger in his right (throwing) hand during a Minor League rehab assignment last week.


"Nothing," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "He tried to throw yesterday and it didn't go well. He hasn't been able to swing, so we're nowhere."

Josh Reddick and Darnell McDonald have been holding down the bulk of the playing time in right during Drew's absence, which stretches back to July 20, when he was shut down with an impingement in his right shoulder.

Is there still time for Drew to come back?

"Well, we have three weeks, but you'd rather [hear] good news than not good news. We'll just deal with it," said Francona.

A more positive development is that Clay Buchholz continues to feel no pain in his back. The righty played catch for the second straight day.

"Good," Francona said. "Sixty throws. Out to over 100 feet. It was a good day. Again, picking up the intensity, picking up the distance. He'll take tomorrow off and then move out to 120. But he's tolerating everything."

While the true test won't come until some time next week, when Buchholz is cleared to throw off a mound, it is a good sign that he's handled everything thrown at him so far.

"I think there were a lot of things that were bothering him, but he'd get to a certain point in his delivery and he was feeling it," Francona said. "But yeah, the good news is he's been tolerating what's been thrown at him so far. I'd rather that than it be the other way around."

Shortstop a daily evaluation for Francona

TORONTO -- Between health issues and inconsistent performances, the Red Sox have done a lot of mixing and matching at shortstop this season between Jed Lowrie and Marco Scutaro.

Scutaro, who had four hits in Tuesday's 14-0 win over the Blue Jays, was back in the lineup Wednesday. The fact that he was 5-for-9 lifetime against Jays righty Brandon Morrow had as much to do with that as the four-hit game. Scutaro promptly went 2-for-4 with three RBIs in Boston's 11-10 loss.

Perhaps Lowrie will start Thursday, when the Sox face lefty Ricky Romero. Lowrie has been drastically better against lefties (.347 average) than righties (.220).

Does Francona envision having a primary shortstop as the club gets closer to the postseason?

"You know what, I don't know," Francona said. "I guess it depends on how we're playing and how guys are playing. I understand the question. I just don't know how to answer it three weeks ahead of time. It seems like things change daily, if not weekly."

Francona will continue to take all the information he has and try to make the best decision each day.

"I guess I would just fall back on the answer -- I'll put us in what I think is in our best position to win," Francona said. "We'll see what that is. I don't think it's necessary to have one guy be the shortstop. At the same time, maybe there's a hot hand. I don't know. We'll see."

Lowrie last played on Saturday, but had to exit when he had recurring stiffness in his left shoulder, an injury that had him on the disabled list earlier in the year.

Scutaro has started the last four games.