Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz is on track to return to Boston's rotation for a Sept. 10 matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays, but he still has a few "ifs" to work through before he gets there, reports Rob Bradford of WEEI.
The first "if" is avoiding any further setbacks. Buchholz was just days away from starting his rehab assignment in July when discomfort resurfaced in his shoulder, so he's certainly not out of the woods on that front.
The second "if" standing between him and a return matchup with the Rays is whether or not he'll be able to make his scheduled rehab start with Pawtucket next Wednesday, Sept. 4. Buchholz's wife is scheduled to have labor induced that day, so unless the couple's child arrives between now and then the club will have to postpone his next rehab outing.
Buchholz struggled in his first rehab start at Low-A Lowell on Sunday, making it just two-thirds of an inning before getting the hook. He walked three and allowed three runs -- one earned -- working up his pitch count much quicker than expected.
Buchholz was the de facto ace of the staff when he went down on June 8. The right-hander owns a 1.71 earned-run average and nearly a strikeout per frame in 84⅓ innings on the year. He still has a chance to become just the second starter since 1997 to begin a year 10-0 if he can win his first decision back.