Contract language delays Lackey deal

The Red Sox and Steve Hilliard, the agent for pitcher John Lackey, are in the final stages of finalizing a five-year, $82.5-million contract, but it’s being held up as the sides work out language that would protect the Red Sox from a pre-existing medical issue.

It is a similar situation to when the Red Sox signed J.D. Drew as a free agent after the 2007 season. Language was inserted in his contract that protected the Red Sox from a pre-existing right shoulder injury. He eventually signed a five-year, $70-million deal.

Lackley agreed to the deal on Monday. The righthander was 11-8 in 2009 with a 3.83 ERA for the Angels. In the past two seasons, the durable eight-year veteran has thrown 339 2/3 innings and made 51 starts.

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