John Lackey ‘Unlikely’ to Make Next Start But Might Avoid Disabled List Stint


John LackeyJohn Lackey’s season — and perhaps career — looked like they were in jeopardy when the right-hander walked off the mound Saturday. Now, the outlook is far more encouraging.

Manager John Farrell said before Monday’s home opener that Lackey, who left Saturday’s start in the fifth inning with a bicep strain, is in the midst of a 48- to 72-hour recovery period. Farrell said Lackey is unlikely to make his next start as scheduled, but the Red Sox skipper isn’t at the point of saying Lackey will require a stint on the disabled list.

“There’s no roster move to announce of any kind right now,” Farrell said. “The most encouraging thing, though, is following an MRI, it showed some inflammation in the bicep. That’s been it. He’s set for a reexamine [Monday]. Then after we get that information, we’ll map out our plan of attack going forward.”

Lackey made his first start since Sept. 25, 2011, on Saturday. He missed the entire 2012 season following Tommy John surgery, and he had worked tirelessly to get to a point where he was 100 percent healthy. The veteran hurler then started off Saturday’s start on a positive note, striking out eight in 4 1/3 innings, but he left the game after injuring his arm on a pitch to Jose Reyes. Lackey immediately grabbed at his bicep, leading to plenty of concern within the Red Sox organization.

“If you watched it, you couldn’t help but feel really sad and sorry for John Lackey — who, by the way, is a very good guy,” Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino said on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan on Monday. “I know the public perception of him may be different than that, but he is a great teammate. His teammates really care about him. You saw evidence of that [Saturday] in the way they reacted to his injury.”

Realizing Lackey’s injury history, Farrell said the team will take a cautious approach when it comes to getting the pitcher back on the hill.

“Before he gets back on the mound, we’ll have to put him through a good test of some sort, whether that’s an extended bullpen, a [simulated] game. That will be taken into account,” Farrell said.

Alfredo Aceves figures to make a spot start in Lackey’s absence. With no structural damage for Lackey, however, Aceves’ stint in the rotation could be short-lived.

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