What is the goal for Buchholz before the end of the season?
"It would be great if he could throw one inning just to see where he's at from a mental standpoint, just to give him some confidence moving into the offseason," Lovullo said. "That's all contingent on him feeling good, getting the right amount of time and building him up to that moment."
Buchholz hasn't pitched since July 10, the night he strained his right flexor muscle pitching against the Yankees.
In other rotation news, knuckleballer Steven Wright is still working his way back from a concussion sustained in Miami three weeks ago when he was struck by a batted ball during batting practice.
"He's still maintaining some baseball activity," Lovullo said. "I know that I said that was coming to a close to where we can determine if he was through all those symptoms, but that has been extended to Friday. I'll have more of an update on Friday. He's still having some balance issues. Everybody knows how important balance is in sports. He's working through it, and on Friday, I could have more information."
The Red Sox want to be careful not to overextend young lefties Eduardo Rodriguez and Henry Owens, so they'd like to go with a six-man rotation at some point before the season ends.
With Buchholz, Brian Johnson, Matt Barnes (minor right elbow irritation) and Wright all battling health issues, the Red Sox may not have enough healthy bodies to do that.
"Well, we're talking about that right now," Lovullo said. "We're trying to figure out if there is another candidate; if those two guys can't go, maybe there's a bullpen day. We're throwing a lot of different options at one another. But obviously the two candidates are Barnes and Steven. We'll see where we're at."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.