Next stop: Fenway Park?
Perhaps, if John Lackey pitches as well as he did Tuesday night in a rehab start for the Pawtucket Red Sox against the Norfolk Tides.
Lackey was placed on Boston’s disabled list May 12 with a right elbow strain, which occurred 24 hours after he was lit up by Toronto for nine earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. But in 5 2/3 innings, he allowed one run on three hits, no walks and four strikeouts.
Lackey threw 46 of 63 pitches for strikes and topped out at 94 on McCoy Stadium’s radar gun.
“I felt like I had pretty good command especially since it’s been a while since I’ve faced hitters,” Lackey said. “I was encouraged by it. The elbow felt a lot better than it has been feeling for sure.
“I felt I was letting it go pretty free and easy which was something I haven’t been able to do this season.”
Given what Lackey said and the numbers he recorded, the obvious question is will he re-join Boston on Sunday and start against the A’s at Fenway Park?
“It’s up to them,” he said. “But I feel like I’ll be ready to go. Fortunately, I threw everything. I pitched like it was a regular game. I’ve never been a huge velocity guy. I’ve got to locate things and work off that.
“I’m happy that I was able to throw that many pitches on little rest (Lackey threw 40 pitches last Friday in a simulated game). Seeing hitters was important as was throwing more breaking pitches and more changeups.”
Lackey only encountered one problem, in the third when Matt Angle pulled a fastball into the right-center field seats for a two-out, solo home run.
“It was a young kid hitting a first-pitch fastball,” Lackey said
Lackey didn’t allow any Tides to advance as far as second and, other than Angle, only three Norfolk batters reached first base.
Angle led the first by reaching on catcher’s interference and Rhyne Davis hit a sinking liner to center that fell in for a second-inning leadoff single. But Davis was erased when Lackey induced Blake Davis to ground into a 3-6-3 double play.
Brendan Harris lined a one-out single to center but remained stationary when Lackey fanned former Red Sox Nick Green and retired Michel Hernandez on a grounder to third.