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John Lackey strikes out five in rehab outing

04.22.13 at 7:14 pm ET

Red Sox right-hander John Lackey, in a rehab outing with Double-A Portland, tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings in which he allowed three hits (all on ground ball singles through the infield) while striking out five and walking two.

He threw 67 pitches, 45 strikes (67 percent), and according to a talent evaluator at the game, he was attacking the strike zone in sufficiently aggressive fashion that he started getting borderline calls with his fastball, which registered at 88-91 mph. That played into the fact that all five of his punchouts were on called third strikes. Lackey got three swings and misses on the night. Beyond the five punchouts, he recorded five of his six other outs via groundball.

Manager John Farrell said on Sunday that, if all went well with Lackey’s rehab outing on Monday, he might be in line to make his next appearance in the big leagues. He is trying to return for his second start of the year after leaving his April 6 outing due to a strained right biceps that cut short what had been a very promising performance that saw Lackey — in his first big league start since undergoing Tommy John surgery after the 2011 season — punch out eight batters in 4 1/3 frames.

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