8/21/2013 3:16 A.M. ET
Buchholz expected to pitch in Minors on Sunday
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Red Sox ace Clay Buchholz is finally in the home stretch of his prolonged return from a right bursa sac strain and will likely start a Minor League rehab assignment Sunday.
That was the positive development that came out of Buchholz throwing three simulated innings Tuesday against teammates Mike Napoli, Xander Bogaerts and David Ross.
"It was good," said Buchholz. "Obviously, with guys in the box taking swings off you, you don't just want to lay it up there. That's why the intensity was up from even the bullpens I've been throwing."
Buchholz will throw a bullpen session Friday at Dodger Stadium and if there are no setbacks, all systems will be go for Sunday.
In a perfect world, Buchholz would pitch in three Minor League games before pitching for the Red Sox.
For that to work out, one of Boston's Minor League affiliates would have to make the postseason. Most Minor League seasons end Sept. 2.
However, if Buchholz can only start twice in the Minors, it wouldn't be a big deal because rosters are expanded Sept. 1 and his first start back with Boston could be an abbreviated one.
"Because we are in September, it's not like we're restricted by a pitch count," manager John Farrell said. "So if that third one is a progression at the Major League level, we could use that as well."
No matter what, Buchholz should be back with the Red Sox around the first week of September and in position to make roughly four starts before the regular season ends.
Considering what the righty meant to the team before his injury, going 9-0 with a 1.72 ERA in 12 starts, his impact could be sizable down the stretch.
"Yeah, I mean, it's obviously taken a lot longer than I wanted it to or expected it to," said Buchholz. "But if everything keeps going as everybody wants it to go, the body is going to be well-rested for an opportunity to help these guys and our team make a push here towards the end of the season and get to that postseason."
Papi sits out vs. Giants; Carp starts at first base
SAN FRANCISCO -- After playing defense for the first time in nearly two months Monday night, David Ortiz got to rest Tuesday.
Mike Carp made the start at first base with Mike Napoli out of the lineup for a fourth straight game.
Napoli has been dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, but manager John Farrell indicated that Tuesday's decision had more to do with the fact righty Ryan Vogelsong was pitching for the Giants.
"Wanted a left-handed hitter," Farrell said before Tuesday's game. "And Mike going through early work today, he feels improved. He'll be available for defense late tonight and possibly a pinch-hit. They've made a starting pitching change tomorrow with [lefty Barry] Zito going against us, so he's certainly a possibility tomorrow as well."
Napoli entered the game as part of a double-switch in the eighth, then grounded out in the ninth. If he returns Wednesday to face Zito, Ortiz would have back-to-back days out of the starting lineup for the first time this season. With the Red Sox not playing Thursday, that could give Farrell the rare opportunity to give Ortiz an extended rest heading into Friday's three-game series against the Dodgers.
Bogaerts goes hitless in Major League debut
SAN FRANCISCO -- After taking Monday to fully absorb his first day in the Major Leagues, Xander Bogaerts got to play Tuesday against the Giants.
The highly touted shortstop -- ranked as the sixth-best prospect by MLB.com -- batted seventh and went 0-for-3 before being removed for a double-switch during the bottom of the sixth inning.
His highlight of the night was a solid play on defense. Marco Scutaro hit a slow roller with two outs in the bottom of the fifth and Bogaerts charged and made a strong throw to end the inning, getting starter Jake Peavy out of a jam.
"Oh man, definitely a big play to make game stay at 2-1, so big play on my part," said Bogaerts. "I was just trying to get an out. I just had to get an out. I saw him dive; it was a pretty close play but I think I had him, though."
The Red Sox wound up losing, 3-2, on a walk-off walk by Scutaro in the bottom of the ninth.
Bogaerts came close to getting his first Major League hit in his first at-bat. He came up with the bases loaded and two outs in the first, but his hard grounder was deflected by pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, and Scutaro fielded it and fired to first for the out.
"I can't describe it -- it's definitely something I've been waiting my whole career for," Bogaerts said. "I thought when I hit that ball it would probably pass through."
Bogaerts spent some of his pregame time Tuesday going over defensive strategy with infield instructor Brian Butterfield and catcher David Ross. He noted the extra preparation that comes with facing an opponent at the Major League level.
"I'm liking it so far," Bogaerts said.
The case can be made that there has been more anticipation for the arrival of Bogaerts than any Red Sox position player since Nomar Garciaparra. That made Tuesday an exciting night.
Unfortunately, it wound up as a loss for the Red Sox.
"X did a tremendous job out there tonight," said Peavy. "He acted like he belonged. He had some good at-bats. That ball was very close to going up the middle in his first at-bat, and that'd have been a huge lift and the ballgame would have swung differently if that ball doesn't hit off Vogelsong. But X, he's going to be fine. Great player."