Lackey stretches out in Minors game
The Red Sox pretty much know what they are going to get from John Lackey this season, and they know how professional he is about getting his work in. So it was without hesitation that they had him make Monday’s start in a Minor League Intrasquad game down the road, rather than at City of Palms Park, where an “A” game was taking place against the Rays.
At this point, the key for Lackey is just to continue the process of getting stretched out. He did that on Monday, going five innings and allowing three hits and one run.
Lackey, who hasn’t allowed a run in his first three Grapefruit League starts, walked none and struck out six. He threw 68 pitches, 46 for strikes.
“It sounded like he threw a bunch of strikes,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “I think he had six strikeouts, gave up one home run. Sounded like he had a pretty good day though.”
Two members of the Boston media — Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe and Alex Speier of WEEI.com — took the trek down Edision Avenue to watch Lackey pitch instead of staying for the Major League game.
There were, of course, not just less media, but far less fans than normal for Lackey’s performance.
“It’s different, for sure,” Lackey said to Benjamin and Speier. “The adrenaline is not quite flowing like a normal game. I felt like I got my work in, located the ball pretty good. Got to the pitch count I needed to get to. Got it accomplished.”
After starting the last two seasons on the disabled list, Lackey is keeping a closer eye on himeslf this spring so there are no bumps in the road.
“I’ve definitely scaled back a few things,” Lackey said. “I haven’t thrown quite so much this Spring Training between starts. I’m kind of saving a few bullets. But I definitely feel like I’m where I need to be for right now. Got to the pitch count, so keep moving forward. I was more happy with my breaking stuff today than I have been in the past. I got a few more swings and misses going for a couple strikeouts that I got. There are definitely some times in games when you’ve got to go get one, and I was able to do that.”
In other news, veteran reliever Alan Embree, who was signed for a second stint in a Boston uniform a few days ago, threw in the bullpen before Monday’s game. Embree will pitch in a Minor League game on Wednesday.
“Then we’ll kind of go from there,” said Francona. “He just hasn’t been outside a lot. He’s champing at the bit, we’d like to get a look at him. But going too fast doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”