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Buchholz’s spirits boosted

Doctor delivers good news on back

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / July 8, 2011

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Clay Buchholz went to Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday to see Dr. Craig Brigham, a back specialist, fearing his lower back strain was a structural problem.

“That was my thoughts going in, thinking they were going to say something bad,’’ Buchholz said after last night’s 10-4 victory over the Orioles at Fenway Park. “But I came out of there in a lot better spirits than I went in, so it was good.’’

Buchholz, who went on the disabled list retroactive to June 17, was given an anti-inflammatory injection and said he would like to follow a rehab protocol that includes icing, stretching, and core strengthening exercises.

“It’s sore right now just from the shot,’’ Buchholz said. “It was cortisone and a mixture of a couple of other things, so hopefully it’ll slow down the stress it’s putting on the muscle in my back.’’

Buchholz said yesterday was his “second day off doing nothing but icing. Tomorrow I’ll try to do some stretching for it and see how it feels.’’

While he remained upbeat, Buchholz set no timetable for his return.

“Sunday, I’ll start trying to throw a little bit and see how it feels and throw a little bit during the break,’’ he said. “I’ll get down to Florida [where the team will resume second-half play at Tampa], a little bit early and start doing some work on it and see how long it’ll be where I can make a start somewhere.’’

Gonzalez is back It’s not often that Adrian Gonzalez takes a day off. He doesn’t necessarily invite them, truth be told. He played all 162 games with the Padres in 2008 after playing in 161 the previous year.

So when Sox manager Terry Francona kept Gonzalez out of the Sox’ 6-4 victory over the Blue Jays because of a stiff neck Wednesday, the first baseman welcomed the night off.

Evidently, it was needed, as Gonzalez returned to the lineup last night and went 3 for 5, with a solo homer (his 17th) in the fifth.

“It was just a number of different things,’’ Gonzalez said. “There’s times when your body just aches and I’ve had this bug that’s been going around, a sinus infection.’’

It was the same bug that forced Jacoby Ellsbury to miss Friday’s game in Houston.

“Ellsbury needed a day the other day in Houston because it really kicked in,’’ Gonzalez said. “So you got that, you got body aches, a little bit of a stiff neck . . . and you’re facing a bad matchup and you put it all together and it was a perfect day to give me a day off.’’

After playing the first 85 games, snapping his streak of 166 games, Gonzalez said it was unlikely he would be taking any more time off in the near future.

“We’ll be talking about my next day off next season,’’ he said.

Reddick gets nod Of the six home runs the Sox hit, which one was the most impressive?

Although there was much debate among those who clouted the homers, hitting coach Dave Magadan settled the matter: Josh Reddick’s blast in the seventh, sandwiched between David Ortiz’s line drive to center and Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s to the Green Monster seats.

“Reddick, he hit it to the deep part of straightaway right field, which is about 380,’’ Magadan said. “It went 80 feet over the fence, so it went pretty far. It was choose your poison, every one of them was hit pretty well.

“[Dustin] Pedroia hit his really well and Ellsbury’s went a long way,’’ Magadan said. “Gonzo’s and David’s were impressive because they were both line drives and hit so hard. But as far as distance, Reddick’s was pretty incredible.

“From my point of view, what was so good about it was it was with two strikes.’’

Plans in the works With Jon Lester (strained left latissimus) and Buchholz on the DL, Francona was mum about whom the team planned to start Sunday. “We’ll get there,’’ he said. “There’s no reason for us to do something premature. We’ll see how we get through the week. We certainly have some ideas, some things to throw around, but we’ll have an announcement when we think it’s appropriate.’’ . . . Carl Crawford put in another day of work, taking batting practice and running the basepaths to strengthen his left hamstring. Asked how he felt on a scale of 1 to 10, Crawford replied, “Uh, eight.’’ . . . Francona said shortstop Jed Lowrie, on the DL since June 17 with a left shoulder strain, was not ready to resume hitting. “He’s got to get that strength a little more equal on both sides,’’ Francona said. “He has improved, but he’s not there yet.’’ . . . Pedroia hit a go-ahead three-run homer over the Monster seats in the third. It was his ninth homer of the season and extended his hitting streak to nine games . . . A moment of silence was observed for former Sox manager Dick Williams, who died yesterday at 82.

Michael Whitmer of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Michael Vega can be reached at vega@globe.com

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