Red Sox starter John Lackey threw live batting practice Saturday, marking the first time the veteran right-hander has thrown to hitters since getting Tommy John surgery on Nov. 1. Lackey, 33, threw 15 pitches in the session as teammates looked on.
"[It was] the first step in a new world for him after a real hard summer of rehab," manager Bobby Valentine said. "Better than how he looked is how he felt. He said he felt great afterwards, and that's what's really important."
Valentine said that he felt Lackey's session was "OK considering that it's the first time" he's thrown to hitters in quite some time.
"His breaking ball was really good, which is usually the last thing," Valentine said. "He's been working on that less. It was good, he just didn't have real good control of his two-seamer."
The manager said that the next step for Lackey is "more of the same," and while he said he wasn't positive when he would face hitters again, Valentine said he "wouldn't be surprised if it's four days from [Saturday]."
Valentine also said he wasn't sure whether Lackey would get into any game situations at any level before the end of the season, and the pitcher told ESPN Boston's Joe McDonald that he will not pitch in games this season.
Lackey is in the third year of the a five-year, $82.5 million deal he signed in December of 2009. In two seasons with the Sox, Lackey is 26-23 with a 5.26 earned run average.
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