BOSTON -- As optimistic as the Red Sox were about the possible return of Clay Buchholz, suddenly the prognosis isn't looking too promising.
Buchholz is still experiencing pain behind his right shoulder, was shut down completely over the All-Star break after throwing a 25-pitch bullpen session on Sunday and will be re-examined on Friday.
"It's frustrating, but you got to let it ride its course," Buchholz said Thursday. "That's sort of where I'm at right now. Hopefully tomorrow I'll start my throwing program again after a couple of days off over the All-Star break and everything, and hopefully it starts piecing itself together."
With the non-waiver Trade Deadline of July 31 looming, Buchholz's health could play a big role in the Red Sox's actions, but manager John Farrell said Thursday that the team is still hoping Buchholz will get back on the mound in 2013.
"We have every intention and hope and outlook that he will resume pitching this season," Farrell said. "I wish I could give you an exact date to be honest with you, and I know Clay would, too. There's no one more frustrated in this than Clay -- and that needs to be made clear. This is a guy who is a strong competitor. He recognizes the situation we're in and he wants to be on the mound. That's the bottom line, but at the same time, his body is telling him one thing."
Buchholz's body is telling him no, even after 1 1/2 months spent on the 15-day disabled list. Each little step forward has been met with an eventual step backward.
"We just felt like, as that was accumulating, he wasn't getting over the hump," Farrell said.
The Sox have given Buchholz anti-inflammatory medicine, since two MRIs have revealed no structural damage. At this point, he'll have to simply wait for the pain to subside.
Getting Buchholz back on the mound is important, but getting him to a point where he can be fully productive is the priority.
"We've got to treat those symptoms and gradually get him back to where the endurance can sustain that intensity," Farrell said.
Buchholz, who had to sit out the All-Star Game, spoke Monday and said he's simply waiting for his body to respond at this point.
"This is all going on feel, how I feel, whenever I throw another bullpen [session], how it leads up to that," Buchholz said. "The first day that I feel like, 'OK, I'm pretty much normal now,' that's when I'm going to ramp up and do what I got to do."
Matt Garza, who is making $10.25 million with the Cubs this season and will become a free agent at year's end, has been strongly linked to the Red Sox and Rangers in trade rumors. Garza has experience pitching in the AL East during his time with the Rays and has looked strong since his return in late May, posting a 3.17 ERA over 71 innings. ESPN reports that the Cubs are expected to deal Garza soon and currently are listening to final offers.
Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato.