Clay Buchholz not expecting to return before All-Star break

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Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz acknowledged to MLB.com’s Ian Browne on Wednesday that he is unlikely to return from the disabled list before the All-Star break and may even be out until late July.

Buchholz has been sidelined since June 16 with a lower back strain and felt renewed soreness Tuesday while attempting to throw a bullpen session.

The 26-year-old told reporters that he is not allowing himself to be frustrated by the setback and is looking forward to having health on his side down the stretch.

“I’d rather come back after the All-Star break and be healthy,” said Buchholz. “I want to make sure I’m ready for August and September. “If something happens and I go out and pitch and feel 80 percent, then this happens again and I have to go back on the DL, that’s not what I, or I don’t think the team wants. That’s where we’re at right now.”

Buchholz has registered a quality 3.48 ERA and 1.29 WHIP across 14 starts this season, with 60 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings. He signed a four-year, $29.945 million contract extension with Boston in early April.

Yu Darvish suffers setback during rehab start

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Cubs starter Yu Darvish suffered a setback during Sunday’s rehab start with Low-A South Bend, The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg reports. Darvish threw just 19 pitches in the first inning and felt fine. However, when he took the mound to warm up ahead of the second inning, Darvish “felt something” in his injured right elbow. He exited the game to undergo an MRI.

Darvish’s condition isn’t yet known, but it’s obviously bad news. Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million contract in February and has made just eight starts this season. He owns a 4.95 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 21 walks in 40 innings and hasn’t pitched since May 20.

Darvish said he hopes to return before the end of the regular season to help the team. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is realistic about the situation. He said, “It’s a process. We’ll see how he feels. It’s been a long road back, so there’s no point in rushing it now. We probably have one chance given where we are on the calendar to get this right, so that’s the priority.”

Mike Montgomery has pitched out of the rotation in Darvish’s place but he is also currently on the disabled list. Tyler Chatwood, with a 5.22 ERA and 93 walks in 101 2/3 innings, was booted from the rotation at the end of July after the Cubs acquired Cole Hamels. The Cubs, entering Sunday 20 games over .500 and fewer than five games ahead of the Cardinals and Brewers in the NL Central, need some reliability at the back of the rotation.