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Red Sox Notebook

Buchholz again is delayed

He soon will see another specialist

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / July 28, 2011

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With the trade deadline creeping closer, the return of Clay Buchholz to the Red Sox’ rotation again has been delayed.

The righthander is scheduled to see a specialist before the end of the week to further assess his back injury, and will not throw off the mound before then.

“We want Buch to see one more specialist, Friday-Monday-ish, before we completely turn him loose,’’ manager Terry Francona said yesterday. “Just because, again, he’s starting to get aggressive, and everything that’s gone on in there, we just want to make sure this kid’s OK.’’

Francona did not have any details about what doctor would examine Buchholz, saying team medical director Tom Gill was coordinating that. This would be at least the fourth opinion on Buchholz’s injury.

Buchholz has not pitched since June 16 because of what has been described as a muscle strain. He received a cortisone shot July 6 and on Monday threw off the mound for the first time since then.

The hope was Buchholz would progress from there. But now comes another delay.

“We just want to make sure we’re not doing something wrong here,’’ Francona said. “He had a really good day [on Monday]. It’s a lot to ask moving forward if he’s going to start pitching in games. We just want to make sure we do the right thing.’’

Francona said Buchholz had not reinjured himself, and that the Sox were encouraged by his arm strength on Monday.

No deal The Sox were interested in outfielder Carlos Beltran right up until the Mets traded him to the Giants yesterday. Beltran agreed to the deal last night, and it is to be announced today.

The Mets will receive blue-chip pitching prospect Zachary Wheeler, the sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft. The equivalent for the Sox would have been prized Single A pitcher Anthony Ranaudo.

The trade of Beltran and the deal that sent Colby Rasmus from the Cardinals to the Blue Jays could spark further movement with outfielders.

The Sox continue to seek a righthanded hitter capable of playing right field to bolster their bench. Candidates would include Reed Johnson (Cubs) and Ryan Spilborghs (Rockies).

Available starters include Hiroki Kuroda, Erik Bedard, and Rich Harden. Buchholz’s injury and the recent poor performances by Andrew Miller have the Sox pondering the depth of their rotation.

Youkilis returns The original lineup posted yesterday outside the Sox’ clubhouse had Yamaico Navarro playing third base with Josh Reddick in right field. But Kevin Youkilis informed Francona that his sore right hamstring was fine, so he started at third.

“Don’t really want to keep him out of there if we don’t need to,’’ Francona said.

Navarro stayed in the lineup in left field. Darnell McDonald started in right, putting Reddick on the bench against Royals lefthander Bruce Chen.

“Red’s done great,’’ Francona said. “But kind of like the idea of seeing Navarro out there a little bit, especially against a lefty.’’

Navarro was 2 for 4 with an RBI. He misplayed a ball in the first inning, which did not prove too costly in a game the Sox won, 12-5.

Shouldering load Alfredo Aceves is on a pace to throw 114 innings, 30 more than his previous career high. But the righthander said workload is not an issue.

“In my mind, I’m a starter,’’ said Aceves, who has started four of the 29 games in which he has appeared. “I prepared myself to pitch as many innings as I had to. I’m satisfied with my role, but I try and think like a starter’’

Aceves pitched just 12 innings last season because of a back injury. The issue, he said, has not affected him this season.

“Everything is fine physically,’’ he said. “I feel strong. I always tell the manager that I’m ready to pitch.’’

Jumping-off point Carl Crawford, 1 for 11 with six strikeouts in the previous two games, sat the game out. Francona said he had been “jumping’’ at the ball. Crawford also was 4 for 23 in his career against Chen . . . Jed Lowrie, out since June 17 because of nerve damage in his left shoulder, has started taking soft toss. The next step will be taking batting practice on the field. “It’s exciting to feel like a baseball player again,’’ he said. Lowrie said he pushes himself a little more each day. “I’m not really at the stage where I’m worried about the timing, just making sure I can get out there and swing and that my shoulder can withstand the workload,’’ he said . . . Third base coach Tim Bogar avoided injury when a line drive off the bat of Dustin Pedroia glanced off him in the second inning, sending his helmet flying off . . . The Sox are 18-4 this month . . . The Sox have had at least 10 hits in 11 consecutive home games.

Globe correspondent Nicole Auerbach contributed to this report. Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com.

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