Clay Buchholz hopes to throw a bullpen session on Thursday at Fenway Park and, if all goes well, the right-hander may try a simulated a game a few days afterwards, Buchholz told reporters (including Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe) during Monday's All-Star festivities in New York. Buchholz said he won't return until the stiffness in his neck has totally subsided, but “if I thought it was a do or die situation in September and we were pushing for the pennant, if it came to that, absolutely I’d be out there," he said. "There’s no risk right now, but I don’t feel comfortable doing it."
Here are some more items about the AL East-leading Red Sox…
- Scott Boras, Jacoby Ellsbury's agent, told reporters (including WEEI.com's Alex Speier) that he wasn't planning to negotiate with GM Ben Cherington about a new contract for his client until after the season. Ellsbury recently claimed the #2 spot on Tim Dierkes' free agent power rankings for the coming offseason. The center fielder is hitting .305/.368/.422 and has stolen a league-leading 36 bases for the Sox this year, a performance that Boras attributes to Ellsbury's gradual recovery from a shoulder injury.
- Alfredo Aceves is no longer represented by agent Tom O'Connell, Nick Cafardo reports (Twitter link). The right-hander is believed to be representing himself for now, according to Rob Bradford and Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Aceves was outrighted to Triple-A earlier today, the latest step in the reliever's tumultuous stint in Boston. You can keep track of who's representing who in the baseball world via MLBTR's Agency Database.
- The move from Boston to small-market Pittsburgh wasn't the reason for Mark Melancon's improvement in 2013, the reliever told media (including Tim Britton of the Providence Journal), saying that the improvement began after working on his mechanics and approach to pitching during a minor league stint last season. Melancon allowed 11 runs in his first two innings with the Red Sox in 2012 but posted a 4.19 ERA over his next 43 innings, though it wasn't enough to keep him from being dealt to the Bucs last December. With the Pirates, Melancon has posted a sterling 0.81 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 44 1/3 IP and earned his first All-Star appearance.