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Red Sox confirm Clay Buchholz stress fracture

No timeframe on right-handed starter's return.

The Red Sox confirmed minutes ago that right-handed starter Clay Buchholz has a stress fracture in his lumbar spine.

There's no timeframe for his return, but reports indicate he's likely to miss the remainder of the 2011 season.

Here's the statement in full:

"Clay has a stress fracture in his lumbar spine. He is responding to treatments and his symptoms are improving. We have sent Clay to see three spine specialists, who all agree that the injury is stable and will heal on its own. Clay will follow a five-step structured rehabilitation program, which will progress as his symptoms allow. When completed, Clay will be cleared to resume throwing. There is currently no time frame on his return, and his return this season has not been ruled out.”

The diagnosis is no great surprise: Boston fans have known about Buchholz' injury since Monday morning. And the good news is that he won't need surgery. But "no timeframe" is not necessarily a good thing when you're talking about a potential postseason difference-maker.

Erik Bedard, brought in from Seattle moments before Sunday's trade deadline, is expected to take his first turn in the rotation Thursday.

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