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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Boston manager John Farrell thought Clay Buchholz might be a little rusty after a long layoff. Turns out that wasn’t the case for the Red Sox right-hander.

Buchholz allowed three hits over five innings in his first start since early June, and the AL East-leading Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 on Tuesday night.

“A healthy Clay Buchholz is going to be a great addition,” Farrell said. “He showed it tonight. To see him walk to the mound, I think it gave everybody a boost in confidence.”

Buchholz (10-0), sidelined by a strained neck, hadn’t pitched in the majors since beating the Los Angeles Angels on June 8.

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• Mets ace Matt Harvey’s ailing elbow is feeling better, and the right-hander said Tuesday he is still optimistic he can avoid reconstructive surgery that would likely sideline him for all of next season.

Harvey will visit Dr. James Andrews on Monday before deciding whether he will undergo Tommy John surgery.

“Everything feels fine, my arm feels great,” the 24-year-old right-hander said. “I am still very optimistic about everything, but I am not a doctor so we will see what happens.”

• Suspended shortstop Jhonny Peralta will work out with the Detroit Tigers before Wednesday’s game at the Chicago White Sox. Peralta accepted a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball on Aug. 5 as part of its investigation into Biogenesis of America, a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs

• Right fielder Justin Upton left Atlanta’s game against Miami with a bruised right knee Tuesday, then said he doesn’t expect to be out long. “I’ll come in Wednesday, and if I can run, I’m going to play,” Upton said.

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