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Red Sox notes: John Lackey may be ready to rejoin rotation Sunday

04.23.13 at 6:16 pm ET
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John Lackey may make his return to the Red Sox rotation on Sunday, when the team hosts the Astros. Lackey made a start for Double-A Portland on Monday night, hurling 3 2/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits, walking two, and striking out five.

“I felt pretty good. It was pretty cold, so it was a pretty good test to get out there and get through that in the cold, so it was good,” Lackey said when referring to his rehab start.

In Lackey’s first start of 2013 after coming back from Tommy John surgery, he went just 4 1/3 innings, striking out eight, and had to be removed from the game with what looked like a serious arm injury at the time. It ended up being a strained right biceps for the right hander, and it looks like he will be making his return less than a month after the scare.

“Velocity was good and right now [Lackey's] scheduled bullpen would be on Thursday,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Provided he comes out of that, which we fully expect him to come out of that ok, we’ll have an update on where his next start would be and the potential to start here for us is a real one.”

“I definitely probably wasn’t throwing as hard, but location was pretty good,” Lackey said when comparing Monday’s start with his season opener in Toronto. “I felt like I got some swing and misses which is a good sign.”

Additionally, David Ortiz will be sitting for Tuesday night’s game and Jonny Gomes will get the start at designated hitter, hitting eighth. While Ortiz is already 6-for-12 in his four games since returning from the disabled list himself, Farrell said that this is a scheduled off day for Ortiz and there has been no pain for him.

“No, [he's] not hurting,” Farrell said. “Scheduled down day, combination with the weather conditions, this was kind of a logical day in his I don’t want to say rotation, but availability to give him a blow.”

When asked about Ortiz’ scheduled off days, Farrell added: “I think the one thing that we don’t want to do is pin ourselves into an exact number of games played and then a scheduled down day. There’s some flexibility to that. Certainly how he’s feeling, his guide in this and his involvement will go a long way in this. But I think we’ve got to build in an occasional day off for him.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

– Making his first rehab appearance with Double-A Portland, Tuesday, reliever Craig Breslow allowed three runs on three hits with a walk not getting a batter out. He threw 23 pitches.

–  Mike Napoli will hit fourth Tuesday night, after hitting his fourth home run (a grand slam) of the season in Monday’s win. It was his fourth career grand slam, and his five RBIs pushed Napoli into the Major League lead for that category at 25. He is also tied for the league lead in extra-base hits with 14. Napoli enters Tuesday night just six RBIs short of Manny Ramirez club record for the month of April, since the RBI became an official statistic in 1920.

– At 13-6, the Red Sox are tied with the Rangers for the American League’s best record. Only the Braves and Rockies have a better winning percentage, both at 13-5.

– With Monday night’s 9-6 win over the A’s, the Red Sox have now won all seven of their series openers. According to STATS, the only other season where this occurred for the team was in 1917.

– The Sox are second in the majors in stolen bases with 18. The A’s lead the league with 19, including a team-high seven for Coco Crisp. Jacoby Ellsbury leads the majors with nine steals, and is one shy of the most steals in April for the franchise, accomplished by Ellsbury in his 70 steal 2009 season.

– The Red Sox are 10-0 when scoring first this season. At 7-0, the Yankees are the only other team with a perfect record when scoring first. Since 1918, this is the first time the Red Sox have ever won their first 10 games when scoring first.

Read More: David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, John Farrell, john lackey
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