Thursday July 28, 2011 | 06:52 AM

Clay Buchholz finally threw off a mound on Monday and the Red Sox said he looked great.

Now, all of a sudden, Buchholz is going to see another specialist about his back. Precaution? Or another problem?

If only a precaution, then Buchholz could be fine and back around mid-August.

If there is a bigger problem, then the Red Sox might have to go with John Lackey as their No. 3 pitcher. Having Lackey as a No. 3 used to be considered a bonus. Now there is uncertainty, although he is 4-0 in his last four starts, and has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of those four decisions.

See today's column, featuring Lackey and others.

With Buchholz's problems, and the trade deadline coming up, the talk is naturally of Boston getting another starter. The Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda pitched 6 innings Wednesday: 6 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 6 K. His ERA is 3.11.

Oakland's Rich Harden came off the disabled list this month and is 2-1 with a 4.63 ERA. He also beat the Yankees last Saturday.

The prize appears to be the Rockies' Ubaldo Jimenez, but is the price too high?

Of course, the best addition to the staff will be a healthy Buchholz. And, if needed, Lackey is not a bad option.

Kyle Weiland, fresh from his two starts in the majors, was back with Pawtucket - and wild. He gave up two hits (a homer and a single), both in the second inning. Also in that inning, he allowed three walks and a hit-batter.

Final line: 4 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 5 BB, 3 K. ERA now 3.15 ... Ryan Lavarnway (.364) was 1-for-4 ... Lars Anderson homered off of Roy Oswalt.

Stephen Fife (11-4) tied Jon Lester for the most wins in a season by a Red Sox-affiliated Sea Dogs team, going 6 innings: 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K. His ERA is 3.66 ... Blake Maxwell (1.73) got his 11th save, striking out two in the ninth ... Will Middlebrooks (.308) hit his 14th home run.



About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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