CLEVELAND — John Lackey threw 40 pitches, all fastballs, in the bullpen today here at Progressive Field. His right elbow felt fine and he is scheduled for a longer bullpen session on Friday in Detroit.
From there, Lackey will pitch in a minor-league rehab game on May 31 and is tentatively scheduled to rejoin the Red Sox rotation on June 5 against Oakland at Fenway Park.
“Lack was on board and we all feel like this is the best way to get him back to what we’re trying to do,” Terry Francona said.
Francona did not know for sure where the rehab game would be. But Class AAA Pawtucket is home on the 31st. Class AA Portland has a doubleheader in New Britain, Conn.
Lackey has been on the disabled list since May 16 (retroactive to May 12) with a strained elbow. He had a cortisone shot the day he went on the DL and was shut down from throwing a few days after that.
“Definitely a step in the right direction. Felt a lot better,” Lackey said. “I was happy with the way I was finishing stuff. Didn’t have to think about anything. I was able to let it go a little bit. Wasn’t feeling the same kind of bite that I had in the elbow.”
Lackey is 2-5 with an 8.01 ERA in eight starts this season. But he said he doesn’t regard coming off the disabled list as necessarily a fresh start.
“You can’t look at like that. I’ve got to look at it like every time I go out there, try to give us a chance to win,” he said. “Whatever’s happened, happened. I can’t really do much about that.”
The timing on June 5 makes a lot of sense considering that Lackey is 17-6 with a 2.86 ERA against Oakland in 32 career starts. He allowed one run in six innings against the A’s on April 19 in Oakland.