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One day later, John Lackey still smiling

02.24.13 at 10:32 am ET
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John Lackey is congratulated by his teammates after pitching one inning Saturday. (AP)

FORT MYERS, Fla. – A day after throwing a baseball in major league competition for the first time since Sept. 23, 2011, John Lackey still had a smile on his face.

“It’s all good. Feel good,” he said Sunday morning the Red Sox clubhouse. “It’s fun to be back.”

Immediately after his one-inning outing Saturday against the Rays at JetBlue Park – his first game major league game competition since coming back from Tommy John surgery – Lackey talked being able to reflect on the moment.

But it was after the post-outing press conference that it really hit home for the starter, when he started receiving a deluge of congratulatory texts and calls.

“Absolutely,” said Lackey when asked if Saturday’s moment truly hit home upon leaving the park. “I had a lot of text messages from former teammates last night. It was cool. One of the coolest things was all the guys being in the dugout for that first inning. That doesn’t happen a whole lot in spring training.

Adam Kennedy, one of my best friends in the game, called me last night just to say, ‘You looked good. Congratulations. You worked hard.’ That was cool.”

Lackey also explained that while he was admittedly overly-excited at the outset of his outing, the normalcy that eventually followed was another bonus. It was a feeling that carried over into Sunday morning.

“The last two hitters I started hitting some spots,” he said. “Started feeling on time and in a better rhythm. That felt good heading into my next one.

“I haven’t thought about my elbow for a couple of months now. I remember having to think about opening doors.”

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