With heavy rain drenching Yankee Stadium yesterday, Clay Buchholz moved his 40-pitch, simulated-innings test to an indoor batting cage near the Red Sox [team stats] clubhouse.



When he pitches again, it likely will be in an actual game.



Buchholz, sidelined since mid-June due to stress fractures in his lower back, has passed each checkpoint in his protracted recovery. There isn't enough time remaining in the season for him to build the arm strength to be a starter, but manager Terry Francona said the right-hander may pitch in relief next week in Baltimore.

"Certainly, we're going to see how he bounces back, but the next thing is probably a game," Francona said. "I can't imagine it being before Monday, but I would think that, as long as he bounces back OK and he feels OK, he'll be eligible to pitch in a game."



At this point, the larger question may be whether Buchholz will be effective enough to be on the postseason roster, if the Red Sox reach the playoffs.