ST. PETERSBURG -- Injured right-hander Clay Buchholz made 70 throws from 120 feet in a session before Friday's game at Tropicana Field.
"He had a really good day," manager Terry Francona said when asked about Buchholz's progress in his rehabilitation from a stress fracture in his back. "It's encouraging when he starts getting out that far and he still feels better and better. I think it's good news he's tolerated everything so well."
The next step is for Buchholz to toss from the mound, which Francona anticipates could occur sooner than originally anticipated. If all goes well, then Buchholz might be able to rejoin the team before the regular season ends.
"That will be huge," Francona said. "That will be the biggest test, because that's where it hurt before. Tomorrow, we'll back off a little bit and then we'll start putting a program together for the next couple of weeks."
If all goes well, Boston fans could see Buchholz pitching again this year.
"If he feels well, him pitching in our season hasn't been ruled out," Francona said. "The one thing that we want him to do is go home from this season feeling good so he can have normal workouts. That's kind of where we're at."
MRI shows bursitis in Youkilis' left hip
ST. PETERSBURG -- If the producers for "Boston Med," the documentary on ABC last year, needed footage for a second season, they could simply walk a few blocks over to Fenway Park.
Kevin Youkilis added his name again to the walking wounded list known as the Red Sox's roster. This time, it's bursitis in his left hip.
Youkilis flew from Toronto to Boston on Friday morning to undergo an MRI examination on his left hip after the third baseman complained of soreness in the area, manager Terry Francona said.
"Youk has some bursitis and he was injected," Francona said after the Red Sox lost to the Rays, 7-2. "Depending on how he feels in the morning, he'll either come down tomorrow, if he feels good. If not, he'll stay and meet us when we get back."
The Red Sox have two more games at Tropicana Field and then have an off-day on Monday. They open a 10-game homestand at Fenway on Tuesday.
It sounded as if there was at least an outside chance Youkilis could play in some capacity before Boston completes the series against Tampa Bay.
"I don't know if we'll play him or not," Francona said. "He might be able to pinch hit. He might be able to play. We don't quite know. Any time you get an injection, we'll see how he wakes up and feels."
Francona didn't know for certain that Youkilis' problems arose while playing four games on the Rogers Centre turf in Boston's previous series.
"He didn't say anything about that," Francona said. "We're just waiting to hear [about the results]."
Youkilis had seemed like he was coming into form after his activation from the 15-day disabled list on Sept. 2 because of a back sprain, picking up five hits in his last 17 at-bats. The Red Sox are hoping they don't lose him for a considerable amount of time with the American League Wild Card race suddenly getting tighter. Following the loss Friday, the Red Sox led the Rays by just 5 1/2 games.
Beckett making progress; Bedard strains lat
ST. PETERSBURG -- Josh Beckett, who is recovering from a sprained right ankle, spent time riding the exercise bike before Friday's game and making throws, but Erik Bedard traveled back to Boston on Friday to get his latissimus dorsi muscle on the left side of his body examined.
Manager Terry Francona said when Beckett is able to resume his usual long toss routine leading up to his next start, then the team will be confident the 31-year-old right-hander is ready to go.
"He's doing much better today," Francona said. "He can do his throwing and things like that, so he's not going to get sent back. He gets looked at every day. We all know how important his five-day schedule is, so when we think we get to that point, then we'll slot him in."
Francona said Bedard would rejoin the team in St. Petersburg sometime this weekend.
Francona said the problem flared up in Bedard's last start, when the 32-year-old allowed three runs on five hits in a 12-7 win over the Rangers.
"He was throwing all arm, and as we got through that start, it started to flare up on him a little bit," Francona said. "We'll slot him in when we think it's appropriate."
The problem could have occurred from Bedard overcompensating for lingering issues with his left knee, which was sprained earlier in the year when he was with the Mariners, said Francona.
Atchison called up to spell taxed bullpen
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Red Sox recalled reliever Scott Atchison prior to Friday's contest against the Rays to help out with a bullpen that has been used in 33 2/3 innings in the past eight games.
"We just wanted to get him here just in case we start getting into the bullpen," manager Terry Francona said.
Atchison, 35, was with Triple-A Pawtucket during the first-round playoff series with Lehigh and recorded two outs in relief in a Game 1 loss.
The 6-foot-2 righty has appeared in 10 games this season with the Red Sox, compiling a 4.42 ERA and one save. He last appeared in a game on Aug. 26, when he gave up one run in three innings in a 15-5 loss.
The long reliever can provide much-needed innings for an injured rotation leaning heavily on the bullpen.
"I think mostly I can keep everybody fresh," Atchison said. "Another arm this time of year always helps in this situation. You want to keep the main guys ... as fresh as they can be for the stretch run. Hopefully I can come in and pick up some innings and help them out."
Chris Girandola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.