Buchholz tabbed to start second-half opener

Boston righty to be followed by De La Rosa, Lester, Lackey and Peavy

Buchholz tabbed to start second-half opener

HOUSTON -- The Red Sox announced their post All-Star break rotation and Jake Peavy, who has been the focus of trade talk, is slated to pitch last.

Boston opens the second half with three games against Kansas City at Fenway Park before heading to Toronto, and here's how the rotation will look for the first five games: Clay Buchholz, Rubby De La Rosa, Jon Lester, John Lackey and Peavy.

"The two guys with the least amount of innings so far are going to lead us coming out of the break," manager John Farrell said. "There's only going to be an additional day for Lester or Lackey, then we looked at the matchups and this might be the best combo of things coming out of the break."

Peavy pitched seven innings against the Astros on Saturday, giving up three runs and striking out nine in one of his better starts of the year. Slotting Peavy last in the rotation gives the Red Sox more time to prepare for any kind of trade that may happen.

Peavy's slot in the rotation certainly won't lessen any speculation that Saturday could've been his last start for the Red Sox. The veteran pitcher, who is 1-8 with a 4.59 ERA, would be an attractive addition for any team looking to bolster its roster for a postseason run.

Peavy knows he's been mentioned and spoke to the reality of the situation after his start in Houston.

"I'm sure we'll hear something, rumors here coming," Peavy said. "I know it's a possibility. I know it's a reality; hoping with all of me that's not the case, but I'm sure there'll be rumors flying everywhere."

Buchholz will start two straight games, as he closed out the first half Sunday -- tossing a three-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts in an 11-0 win over the Astros -- and will start the second-half opener.

Mike Vernon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.