Clay Buchholz on track for September 4 return

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Boston’s rotation is about to get a massive boost.

According to beat writer Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, right-hander Clay Buchholz is slated to make his first minor league rehab start on Sunday afternoon with Low-A Lowell and a second rehab start on Friday night. If both of those outings go well, he will likely be cleared to rejoin the Red Sox five days later — on September 4 — for the series finale of a big three-game set against the Detroit Tigers.

Buchholz opened the 2013 season with a 9-0 record, 1.71 ERA and 1.02 WHIP over his first 84 1/3 innings (12 starts), but he hasn’t pitched in a major league game since June 8 due to neck and shoulder issues.

The Red Sox are currently tied with the Rays atop the American League East standings.

The deadline is 8 PM ET Monday for Shohei Ohtani situation to be resolved

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Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.

Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.

Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.