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John Lackey on most recent outing: ‘Still a work in progress’

03.10.13 at 6:06 pm ET

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Red Sox right-hander John Lackey logged 3 2/3 innings against the Rays on Sunday in his team’s 6-2 victory, permitting two runs (both earned) on four hits (all singles) while striking out two and walking one. Of the 66 pitches he threw, 41 were strikes.

Lackey expressed satisfaction with the steady build-up in his workload, as demonstrated both by the fact that, for the first time this spring, he worked into a fourth inning, and that he reacclimated to returning to the mound after a long wait on the bench during a rally (the Sox pushed three runs across in the top of the fourth).

Still, he acknowledged that even with his ability to throw strikes this spring, he’s still working to sharpen both his command and the action on his pitches, notably a cutter/slider.

“It’s definitely still coming. It’s not there yet. But I’ve been around the zone. You can throw strikes and not throw the way you want exactly, sometimes, too. It’s still a work in progress,” said Lackey. “My slider-cutter thing was a little flat today. I had a pretty good two-seamer today, felt good with that. I got several ground balls when I was trying to.”

Including his three-inning outing against Team Puerto Rico, Lackey has logged 9 2/3 innings in four starts this spring, permitting six runs on 11 hits while striking out six and walking three.

The Sox fell behind 2-0 early, but a three-run homer for David Ross — the catcher’s first hit of the spring — gave the team a 3-2 lead. The Sox added on three more runs in the seventh on an RBI single by Pedro Ciriaco, a run-scoring wild pitch and an RBI double by outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker. The Sox relieved 5 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, with Koji Uehara contributing another perfect inning (his fourth of the spring) and Daniel Bard working around a hit to pitch a shutout inning.

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