Clay Buchholz throws off mound for first time since July

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Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz hasn’t appeared in a major league game since June 8 due to a shoulder injury and his rehab has been littered with setbacks. But there may suddenly be reason for optimism.

According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Buchholz reported feeling “a lot better” after throwing off a mound Tuesday for the first time since mid-July.

The workout was only at 60-65 percent effort and only lasted 27 pitches, but it’s the first significant sign of progress for the right-hander in several weeks.

Buchholz, 28, was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 81/29 K/BB ratio in 84 1/3 innings before hitting the shelf. He can provide a big boost for Boston with a late-August or early-September return.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.