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Lackey on start: ‘It’s a good place to start from’

03.06.10 at 1:42 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Lackey was scheduled to throw 30 or 35 pitches in his first outing of the exhibition season, but the new Red Sox starter, in his first game with his new club, proved more efficient than anyone had anticipated. Lackey retired all six members of the Twins he faced in two innings. He worked quickly and needed to throw just 20 pitches (12 for strikes) to finish his day.

He struck out the first batter he faced, Ben Revere, on three pitches, the last a fastball up and away on which Revere could not check his swing. He also recorded three groundball outs in his outing. Yet he identified another pitch as the best sign for his stuff on the day.

In the second inning, he fell behind Delmon Young, reaching a 3-1 count. He then threw a fastball down the middle, which Young fouled off.

“That means I had a little life on my fastball,” he said.

Lackey threw four-seam and two-seam fastballs as well as a few curveballs, but didn’t incorporate any sliders or changeups. Despite his low pitch count, he didn’t feel the need to throw any extra pitches in a bullpen session after the fact, feeling that there is plenty of time left in the spring for him to build arm strength.

Lackey said that he didn’t find it as easy to get loose for his second inning of work as his first, but he was pleased with where he is in the build-up towards the regular season. He has been mindful this spring of the fact that he started the last two years on the disabled list, but seemed comfortable with where he is now in working towards the start of the season.

“I feel pretty good. It’s a good place to start from,” said Lackey. “It’s always different when you have to sit down, get back up for that second inning. It was a little bit harder to get loose that second inning as opposed to the first, but overall, I felt pretty good, and we’ll keep moving forward.”

A couple of additional items he addressed:

– Even though Lackey spent the last several years as the ace of the Angels staff, he suggested that he had no reservations about ceding Opening Day honors to Josh Beckett or Jon Lester.

“If the roles were reversed, and I would have stayed in Anaheim and those guys had come over there, I would expect to still be going first,” said Lackey. “I think those guys have earned the right. They’ve won a lot of games for Tito, and to go in front of me, I’m alright with that.”

– The right-hander welcomes the idea that he, Lester and Beckett might push each other to achieve sustained success.

“I can definitely see that happening,” said Lackey. “I’m going to be the first one on the top step, pulling for them to do great. When it comes your turn, as for those guys, you don’t want to let them down, just keep the line going.”

– On the ease of getting acclimated to a new team:

“Honestly, it’s been pretty easy. It’s been easier than I thought it was going to be,” said Lackey. “Guys have been great. It’s a great group of guys, easy to fit in with. I thought it was going to be more difficult than it actually has been.”

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