Buchholz hasn't pitched since June 19 vs. the Marlins and spent several days in a Boston-area hospital with internal bleeding after that outing. In his last five starts before going on the DL, the right-hander was 4-0 with a 2.43 ERA in his best stretch of the year.
The Red Sox took the series opener, 3-1, on Friday night at Tropicana Field and can win the series with a strong outing from Buchholz.
"He says he feels good," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "He's ready. I'm anxious to see him come back, too. He's rested and seems to be hungry."
In three starts against Tampa Bay this year, Buchholz is 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA.
The Red Sox will be careful with his pitch count on Saturday. Buchholz made one Minor League rehab start on Sunday, throwing 43 pitches in 2 1/3 scoreless innings with Triple-A Pawtucket.
"Not sure he could go 100-plus [pitches], but I think he could go a good, strong 90," Valentine said.
The Rays didn't open their season-long 10-game homestand the way they would have liked and will hand the ball to David Price looking to even the series.
Price entered the All-Star break on a roll, going 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 28 innings over his last four starts. The left-hander thinks the Sox are the perfect team to face after a short layoff.
"It's always tough, it's always postseason baseball whenever you're playing a team like this," Price said. "It's good for us to play a team like Boston coming out of the break. Everybody knows the importance of these games. I try and stay on the same page I was in that first half. Come out every five days and give us a chance to win and just take it like that."
Price shut down Boston's high-powered offense the last time he faced it, tossing seven innings of one-run ball on May 26 at Fenway Park. He's yet to face the Sox at home this year.
Red Sox: Ellsbury returns
Jacoby Ellsbury was back in the Red Sox's lineup on Friday night playing center field in his first Major League action since separating his shoulder on April 13 vs. the Rays.
Ellsbury hit leadoff and went 1-for-5 with a single and two strikeouts after spending nearly three months on the disabled list.
"I worked hard to get to this point, so I'm definitely excited," Ellsbury said. "We feel comfortable. The doctors feel like I can play. They felt confident that I should go out there and play to my abilities. Nothing should change.
"I feel good. I think I feel as good as you can coming into the ballgame. Definitely very confident, but most importantly, just excited to be out there.
Second baseman Pedro Ciriaco continues to produce at second base while filling in for Dustin Pedroia, who is on the 15-day DL.
Ciriaco had a two-run single in the second inning on Friday and was 3-for-3. He has six RBIs in four games since being called up on July 6 from Triple-A Pawtucket.
After going 0-for-4 in his debut last Saturday vs. the Yankees, Ciriaco is 10-for-12 with two doubles, four runs and three stolen bases.
"I've got to take advantage of every opportunity," Ciriaco said. "There are a lot of players in the organization trying to be here. We play to be in this league, so I've got to take advantage of that."
Rays: Longoria wants to return this season
Evan Longoria hasn't played since April 30, the result of a partially torn left hamstring, but the Rays' third baseman believes he will return this season.
"I can be sincere and say that I don't think the year is over with," Longoria said. "Nobody has told me that. I haven't told myself that. Just continue to push forward, and hopefully, whether it's in two days, two weeks, two months, at some point I'll be able to play again. I just have to try and stay as positive and confident as I can."
Longoria was hitting .329 with four home runs and 19 RBIs in 23 games before his injury. Since then, the Rays have started six different players at the hot corner.
Watching from the bench has been tough on Longoria, who missed his 64th game on Friday.
"When something like this happens, it's hard to say to yourself that it's going to be four months, five months," Longoria said. "Every injury that we go through, every little nick and bruise that we get, we tell ourselves it's going to be a day or two only. It's hard to really put that kind of time frame on any kind of injury. It's been mentally really, really tough to go through. It's tough to look at my Twitter every day and people say that I'm not the kind of competitor or player that they thought. So that [stinks]."
Tampa Bay is 30-34 since Longoria's injury.
Manager Joe Maddon and hitting coach Derek Shelton held a meeting with Rays hitters prior to Friday's game. Tampa Bay lugged a .232 average into the All-Star break.
"We're always in search of making things better somehow," Maddon said. "We just tried to pinpoint some of the items we think we need to get better with through some ideas and thoughts with the players."
Maddon said his team needs the right mindset in order to produce at the plate.
"I want them to come to their own conclusions, their own answers regarding what's not going right for them individually or us as a team," Maddon said. "By giving them different things to think about, hopefully the answers are gonna come from within. ... That's the purpose of these conversations, to motivate hitting."
The manager plans to meet with the pitchers on Saturday.
Rays outfielder B.J. Upton is 6-for-17 (.353) in his career vs. Buchholz with one home run and three walks.
Boston first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was a late scratch from the lineup on Friday. He left Sunday's game against the Yankees after two innings with flu-like symptoms. A team spokesperson said Gonzalez needed another day to rest.