BOSTON -- Clay Buchholz had his most intensive bullpen session yet during his recovery, as hitters stood in the box during a 60-65 pitch session before Saturday's game against the Yankees.
The right-hander, who has been out since June 9 with a right bursa sac strain, will throw a simulated game next time around, either on the West Coast with the Red Sox or at Triple-A Pawtucket in preparation for a Minor League rehab assignment.
"I had hitters in today, so I got more comfortable the more I threw to a hitter," Buchholz said. "Obviously the next step is to get some live swings off of me and see how that goes. I'm willing to do whatever they want me to do and whatever I have to do to get better."
Getting Buchholz back for the stretch run should be a huge boost for the Red Sox, particularly if he resembles the form he had earlier in the season, going 9-0 with a 1.72 ERA in 12 starts.
"Yeah, today was good," Buchholz said. "More intense today, more pitches. Everything went good."
Napoli sits with sore foot; Victorino's day off nixed
BOSTON -- Shane Victorino was out of the lineup for Saturday's game, and then he wasn't.
Mike Napoli came in with a sore left foot, and that led manager John Farrell to make some tweaks to his batting order.
Victorino, who has been dealing with left hamstring weakness for a large portion of the season, started in right field and batted second. Daniel Nava, originally slated to bat second and play right field, batted sixth and played left. Mike Carp, who was going to start in right field, instead started at first.
Napoli, who has slumped mightily in recent weeks, got a day off.
"It's something [Napoli has] been dealing with for quite some time and aggravated it last night on that double," Farrell said. "So when he came in today, [we] just felt like he needs a day down, at a minimum. It's in that plantar fasciitis area of the front foot."
While it would be easy to draw the conclusion of a correlation between Napoli's foot ailment and his slump, Farrell isn't sure there is one.
"No, I can't say that it's caused his swing to be less aggressive or it's caused him to not hit from a more powerful base," Farrell said. "Like I said, it's something he's been dealing with, but he has not expressed that as being a reason to why some of the streaks he's experienced."
As for Victorino, a day off on Saturday was viewed more as a luxury than a necessity.
"We're just kind of keeping the pulse of how guys are feeling physically and just building in a day when needed. Sometimes that's not afforded," Farrell said.
How much is the hamstring bothering the switch-hitting Victorino?
"Enough for him to hit from the right side of the plate against right-handed pitching as well," Farrell said. "It's more, again, trying to create the power base that we talked about from a hitter's standpoint. As far as his range in the outfield or ability to run the bases, that hasn't shown in those areas."
Ross on target to return to Red Sox on Monday
BOSTON -- David Ross was set to catch for Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday for the second straight day, his final step before he receives clearance to join the Red Sox for their six-game West Coast road trip that begins Monday in San Francisco.
Though Ross is 1-for-12 thus far in his rehab assignment, that won't make the Red Sox hesitate to activate their invaluable backup catcher, who was sidelined with his second concussion of the season.
"Well, we fully expect the timing to be a work in progress, getting back to it," said manager John Farrell. "The fact that he'd be ready to go physically and get through consecutive [games of] nine innings of catching today, these are things that are all being considered. The one thing that we don't want to do is delay his return.
"Sixteen to 18 at-bats, that's going to be some to get his timing back. As long as there is no residual effect of the concussion coming out of today, we feel like it's time to get him back to us."
The return of Ross would be particularly beneficial for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who has had a heavy workload since Ross went down.
Remy offers condolences to family of slain woman
BOSTON -- Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy put out a statement on Twitter a day after reports came out that his son Jared was arrested for allegedly murdering girlfriend Jennifer Martel.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to Jenn Martel and her family. Words cannot describe my wife's and my grief.
"Son or not, I am at a loss for words articulating my disgust and remorse over this senseless and tragic act. We are heartbroken,
Jerry Remy, who played for his hometown Red Sox from 1978-84 and has been broadcasting their games on NESN since 1988, will not be on the team's upcoming six-game West Coast road trip. There is no word yet on a potential return date for Remy. Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley has been filling in.
• Second baseman Dustin Pedroia celebrated his 30th birthday on Saturday. Before the game, there was a cake in the middle of the clubhouse with a Bigfoot caricature. Pedroia has made it known that he believes in Bigfoot. There were also balloons covering the top of his locker.
• Lefty reliever Matt Thornton threw a bullpen sessions at roughly 85-percent intensity on Friday and could return soon from his right oblique injury.
• With a Sunday night game against the Yankees, the Red Sox won't fly to San Francisco until Monday morning. Boston opens its six-game West Coast swing against the Giants and Dodgers on Monday night.