ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It won't be made official until Thursday, but all signs point to Eduardo Rodriguez returning to the Red Sox' starting rotation Sunday night against the Kansas City Royals.
That, in turn, should also result in Clay Buchholz going back to the bullpen after three spot starts recently.
Rodriguez, who pulled himself out of his last scheduled start Sunday in Detroit when he wasn't confident that he could compete with a strained left hamstring, threw a three-inning simulated game Tuesday and emerged from that session convinced that he was heading toward a return to the rotation.
But just to make sure, the Sox want Rodriguez to test himself physically Thursday morning before the Sox complete their road trip with a game here Thursday afternoon.
"He went through some aggressive long toss today,'' said John Farrell of Rodriguez, "and came out that feeling fine, no restrictions in the hamstring. We'll take this each work day at a time. Once we get through tomorrow, we'll have a little bit more clarity going forward.''
Buchholz threw 94 pitches while allowing a run on five hits over 6 1/3 innings Tuesday night, so he wouldn't be available out of the bullpen for a few days.
"He's going to need a couple of days down regardless,'' noted Farrell.