Clay Buchholz could return to the Red Sox on Wednesday

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It appears Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz will indeed return to the major leagues before the end of the regular season. Just before.

According to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, Buchholz is scheduled to pitch an inning Monday in the Red Sox’ fall instructional league down in Fort Myers, Florida. If the appearance goes smoothly, he should be cleared to return to the big leagues as a long reliever on Wednesday for Boston’s 2011 regular season finale.

Buchholz has been sidelined since the middle of June because of a stress fracture in his L2 (lumbar) vertebrae. The talented 27-year-old had a decent 3.48 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 60/31 K/BB ratio in 82 2/3 innings before landing on the disabled list.