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Red Sox Notebook

Buchholz will see specialist

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / July 5, 2011

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Clay Buchholz, who has not pitched since June 16 because of a sore lower back, is being sent to a specialist in North Carolina to try to determine the extent of his injury.

Team medical director Dr. Thomas Gill examined Buchholz yesterday and recommended that he see Dr. Craig Brigham in Charlotte this week.

The Red Sox have said Buchholz has a muscle strain. But there seems to have been little improvement in nearly three weeks.

“It’s kind of interesting,’’ manager Terry Francona said. “It just hurts when he does certain things pitching. He’s moving around so well other than that. When we send him out there, we want him to know, even if it hurts, he’s not hurting himself.’’

Francona said he isn’t sure whether Buchholz will need a minor league rehabilitation start before being activated. But given that he will go at least a month between starts, that seems likely.

Buchholz is 6-3 with a 3.48 earned run average in 14 starts.

The news is better for Carl Crawford. The left fielder, who is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, had a full workout before yesterday’s game and picked up the intensity from his earlier work. He will try running the bases today.

“I was running pretty well,’’ Crawford sad. “It’s getting there.’’

For position players with leg injuries, being able to run the bases is usually the final hurdle before returning.

Youkilis takes a hit Kevin Youkilis left yesterday’s 9-7 loss against the Blue Jays in the fourth inning after being hit on the upper back by Toronto starter Brandon Morrow.

Youkilis fell to the dirt and was attended to by Francona and head athletic trainer Mike Reinold before leaving the game. It was the ninth time Youkilis has been hit this season, tying him for fourth-most in the majors.

“We got him out for precautionary reasons. He’s got a headache,’’ Francona said. “We’ll reevaluate him and see how he’s doing [today].’’

Youkilis is already playing with two sore ankles.

Support for Bard Daniel Bard is having a statistically superior season to Seattle’s Brandon League and Cleveland’s Chris Perez, two of the relievers selected to the All-Star team. Both are closers, however.

Francona would like to see setup men given more value when compiling the rosters.

“The All-Star [selection] process is never going to be perfect,’’ he said. “We’ve been over this and over it and over it. But a couple of things, one is I think [Bard] is one of the best relievers in the game, and two is if you’re trying to win a game that’s important, I can’t imagine having a pitcher more important than Bard. Or guys like Bard. I know there’s other guys out there.’’

Bard has a 2.25 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP, and is averaging 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings. He is better than League and Perez in all three categories.

Francona doesn’t know what the solution is. But given that the game determines home-field advantage in the World Series, he would like to see the best players in the game.

Independent spirit The Red Sox put on a good show before the Independence Day game with one heartwarming twist.

After the Men’s Vocal Ensemble of the US Army Field Band and Soldier’s Chorus performed the national anthems of Canada and the United States, four F-15C jets from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield soared over the park.

The team then showed a video of Petty Officer Bridget Lydon sending holiday wishes to her family from aboard the USS Ronald Reagan.

As her family watched from the infield, Petty Officer Lydon emerged from left field to see them for the first time in nine months. After a round of hugs, she threw out the first pitch.

The Lydons are from Squantum.

During the seventh-inning stretch, Army staff sergeant Elizabeth Garcia of Acton sang “God Bless America.’’

Teen outfielder signed The Red Sox have invested in the Latin American market, signing 16-year-old outfielder Manuel Marcos for $800,000. A lefthanded hitter, the 6-foot, 175-pound Marcos reportedly is a good athlete with excellent speed, a strong arm, and good defensive instincts . . . The Sox lost for just the eighth time in 28 day games this season . . . Triple A shortstop Jose Iglesias is recovering from being struck in the head by a pitch Sunday night. Iglesias suffered a mild concussion according to Pawtucket officials. He was not in the starting lineup last night . . . Jacoby Ellsbury matched his career high with four hits. He also reached 500 career hits when he singled in the first inning. Ellsbury hit that milestone in 432 games. Only two Red Sox outfielders reached 500 hits quicker. Ted Williams needed 385 games and Dom DiMaggio 428 . . . J.D. Drew has gone 49 at-bats without an extra-base hit . . . The Sox are 49-35 after 84 games for the second straight season.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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