John Lackey ‘Sure Is Close’ to Being Fully Recovered, Will Throw Batting Practice Saturday

John Lackey 'Sure Is Close' to Being Fully Recovered, Will Throw Batting Practice SaturdayBOSTON –– John Lackey is targeting at least one inning of
work this season — just not in a live game.

With the pitcher progressing relatively quickly from
Tommy John surgery, the Red Sox will have him throw batting practice
on Saturday. It’s the next step after Lackey impressed with his bullpen
sessions.

“Lack has been throwing really good in the
bullpen,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. “Now, we’ll set up
some hitters for him [Saturday]. I don’t know if he’s fully recovered, but
it sure is close. He’s really throwing the ball well.”

If Lackey throws without issues, Valentine said the team
would pencil him in for an instructional league game appearance. The objective
would be to give Lackey some confidence in his elbow heading into the
offseason.

But Valentine didn’t divulge any specific details just
yet.

“I don’t have that mapped out yet,” Valentine
said. “I think he’ll continue to work hard. He’s worked really hard all
season. I’m not sure that he’ll throw much in the offseason. Maybe just keep it
loose.”

Amid Lackey’s progress, the skipper conceded he’s a few
weeks away from game action. In two seasons for the Red Sox, Lackey notched a
26-23 record with a 5.26 ERA to go with 264 strikeouts and 128 walks.

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