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Buchholz OK after simulated game

BOSTON (AP) - Boston right-hander Clay Buchholz reported no problems Tuesday after throwing a 32-pitch simulated game before the Red Sox played the Baltimore Orioles.

Buchholz is still hoping to pitch again this season, especially in the playoffs.

"Everything went well," Buchholz said after throwing to the club's extra players following a 25-pitch bullpen warmup.

"Location wasn't what it should be, which is expected, but the ball is coming out of my hand and there's no problem with the back."

Buchholz, who hasn't pitched since June 16 because of a stress fracture, isn't sure what the plan is going forward, but hopes to be starting if the team reaches the playoffs.

"I don't know if I'll be able to build up to throw five innings (during the rest of the regular season), but that's the team's call," Buchholz said.

"If they want me to come back and get some innings, we've got to see how this postseason run is going to be and go from there."

As far as helping the Red Sox rotation in the playoffs, Buchholz said, "Yeah, that's what I want to do. Today was the first step in that direction and everything's going good."

"He threw 32 and actually looked pretty good," manager Terry Francona said. "Now we'll obviously wait and see how he bounces back and see when and where to go the next step."

The next step would come Thursday or Friday. The regular season ends next Wednesday.

In other team news, the Red Sox got Carl Crawford back in the lineup Tuesday night, after the left fielder missed Monday's day-night doubleheader with a stiff neck.

"Good enough to play," Francona said. "He's sore but able to move. Yesterday he couldn't move so that's good news."

The news wasn't as good on Kevin Youkilis, who is still out of the lineup with a sports hernia and hip bursitis.

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