John Lackey Impresses With Poise, ‘Really Good’ Breaking Ball While Throwing Batting Practice


John Lackey Impresses With Poise, 'Really Good' Breaking Ball While Throwing Batting PracticeBOSTON — For the first time in nearly a year, John
took the mound at Fenway Park. Unfortunately for the hurler, it was only
to toss batting practice and not pitch against the Blue Jays.

But it was still a momentous step for Lackey. At roughly
3:00 p.m. on Saturday, he unleashed 15 pitches against his teammates, his first
taste of pitching against live hitting since last September against the Yankees.

"He looked OK," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine
said. "Considering, you know, it's the first time. His breaking ball was
really good, which is usually the last thing. He’s been working on that less.
He just didn’t have real good control of his two-seamer."

"First step in a new world for him after a real hard
summer of rehab. Better than how he looked was how he felt. He said he felt
great afterwards and that's what’s really important."

Valentine went on to praise Lackey's dedication to his
workouts. General manager Ben Cherington reiterated Valentine's stance that the
Red Sox would attempt to ease Lackey into an instructional game sometime this

After throwing batting practice, Lackey walked off the
mound and received fist bumps from a handful his teammates, an indication of
the magnitude of this moment in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Come spring training next season, Lackey could be ready
to compete for his spot in the starting rotation — at least if everything
stays the course.

"I wish I could have that little magic crystal ball
that told me the future," Valentine said. "If he continues to work
hard all winter, which I believe he will, he'll give us and himself the best
chance. Now, whether or not it has to be Opening Day, I can tell you right now,
I don’t think that is necessarily a goal. To get him back healthy would be the
key, 100 percent."

For now, Lackey will ice up and recover from Saturday's
throwing session.

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