Bud NorrisClay Buchholz is expected to return at some point, but there’s still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the ace, so the Red Sox could consider diving into the starting pitching market before the trade deadline.

WEEI.com’s Alex Speier reports that the Red Sox are interested in Astros pitcher Bud Norris, and perhaps other starters like him.

Speier writes that Norris represents the type of pitcher that the Red Sox are seeking, as he has a proven track record and is under team control for multiple seasons. Norris is making $3 million this season and has two more years of team control before he’s eligible for free agency. That means that the Red Sox would be acquiring someone who fits into their plans beyond 2013, unlike Matt Garza, who is slated to become a free agent after this season.

It might take a lot to pry Norris away from Houston, though. According to Speier, the Red Sox have checked in on the Norris market and currently believe the Astros’ asking price is too high. They reportedly feel that the price is more in line with a pitcher who has a reputation of being a front-end starter rather than a back-end starter.

Norris, who is 28 years old and in the midst of his fifth major league season, is 6-8 with a 3.63 ERA in 19 starts. The right-hander is averaging 6.4 strikeouts per nine innings and 2.8 walks per nine innings — both are the lowest marks of his career.

Norris is 34-45 with a 4.29 ERA in 117 career games (116 starts).

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Photo via Wikipedia/Bud Norris