April 23, 2013

John Lackey: 'Good test'

The rehabbing Red Sox starter throws well in Portland, hitting 92 mph with five K's in 3 1/3 innings.

By Glenn Jordan gjordan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - The thermometer read a brisk 43 degrees when rehabbing Red Sox right-hander John Lackey took the Hadlock Field mound in what remained of Monday's sunlight.

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John Lackey throws one of his 67 pitches in a rehab start in Portland on Monday. The pitcher then stayed in the dugout for a couple of innings, and later treated the Dogs to a steak and lobster meal.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Derrick Gibson shows textbook feet-and-hands form at second base for the Sea Dogs, fielding a grounder in the third inning of Monday’s win at Hadlock.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below


WHO: Sea Dogs (Craig Beslow 0-0) vs. Binghamtom Mets (Tyler Pill 1-1)

WHEN: 6 p.m.

WHERE: Hadlock Field

TICKETS: Plenty available

A bit nippy for a pitcher coming back from a muscle strain in his pitching arm.

"That was actually a good test for me," Lackey said after throwing three shutout innings and part of a fourth before departing from what turned out to be an 8-2 Eastern League baseball victory for the Sea Dogs over the visiting Binghamton Mets.

"With a muscle situation, being able to throw in the cold, it's only going to get better as it gets warmer. So getting through that is definitely a positive."

The victory was the fourth in a row for Portland (10-7), which put together a 12-hit attack led by Xander Bogaerts (3 for 5), J.C. Linares (2 for 4) and Michael Almanzar (2 for 4, 2 RBI).

Binghamton starter Jacob DeGrom (0-2) had held the Sea Dogs to three hits over eight innings in his Double-A debut last week in New York, but Bogaerts greeted DeGrom with a blast to the warning track in center field that tipped off the glove of Alonzo Harris and was ruled a three-base error.

Almanzar's two-out, two-run double gave the Sea Dogs a 3-0 lead in the first and they never looked back, making it 5-0 after two with help from hits by Derrik Gibson and Shannon Wilkerson.

"He's got quality stuff," Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said of DeGrom, "and we were able to put together a pretty solid approach against him."

The Mets were less successful against Lackey, whose fastball topped out at 92 mph. He threw a first-pitch strike to 11 of 15 batters, got five outs on grounders, five more on strikeouts (all looking), walked two and gave up a single in each of the first three innings.

"He's able to cut the ball, he can sink it," Boles said. "He can add and subtract to his velocity with different pitches. And when he misses, he misses down. That's what we're trying to teach our young guys -- if you're going to miss, miss down."

Lackey has been on Boston's disabled list since sustaining a biceps injury in his first start of the season (April 6) following a 2012 season spent recuperating from reconstructive elbow surgery in November 2011.

He drove up from Boston Monday with a plan of throwing 65 pitches or four innings for the Sea Dogs, and wound up leaving with one out in the fourth after his 67th pitch was a called strike three.

"I was really just concentrating on feeling good mechanically and locating the ball," Lackey said. "I didn't really cut it loose very often. I was mostly trying to locate the ball and get some grounders, and just come out of it feeling good."

In the fourth, Boles came to the mound, shook Lackey's hand and the pitcher tapped gloves with first baseman Travis Shaw before strolling off the field. He gave a wave to acknowledge fans who were standing and applauding behind the home dugout, then lingered for another half hour before finally heading to the clubhouse to shower.

"I was really impressed to see him stick around for an inning and a half and interact with some of our younger pitchers and players in the dugout," said Sea Dogs pitching coach Bob Kipper. "That tells you what a class individual he is, because he didn't have to do that. Everybody would have understood if he didn't."

Reliever Keith Couch (1-0) retired the first seven batters he faced and allowed only one earned run in four innings to earn the victory, with Chris Martin taking care of the final four outs. The Sea Dogs enjoyed a postgame spread of lobster and steak, courtesy of Lackey.

"It's not 100 percent," Lackey said of his right arm. "There's still a little bit of something there, but five more days of treatment and I think I should be fine."


NOTE: Red Sox left-hander Craig Breslow is scheduled to make a rehabilitation appearance Tuesday night at Hadlock, pitching one inning before giving way to Brandon Workman.


Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:


Twitter: GlennJordanPPH


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Additional Photos

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Portland’s Derrick Gibson is forced out at second by Binghamton’s Josh Rodriguez, but he did manage to prevent a double play in an 8-2 win.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer


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