TORONTO -- In the middle of what had been an otherwise very encouraging return to the mound after a 17-month absence following reconstructive elbow surgery, Red Sox starter John Lackey left Saturday's game with an arm injury, his right arm dangling and his immediate future in question.
The team announced during the game that Lackey had suffered a biceps strain, and manager John Farrell said afterwards that the "cramp" in the right-hander's arm disappeared after he left the game. Farrell also said that no structural damage to Lackey's elbow was evident in an initial examination. Still, Lackey is being sent back to Boston and will undergo an MRI on Sunday.
Lackey had allowed two runs -- on a two-run homer by J.P. Arencibia in the fourth -- and struck out eight when he was facing Toronto Blue Jays leadoff hitter Jose Reyes, trailing 2-0
TV replays showed Lackey stretching his arm out on one pitch. On the next, he bounced a ball inside and in the dirt to Reyes and immediately grabbed the area of his right bicep, above the elbow.
In obvious pain on the mound, Lackey was visited by manager John Farrell and a member of the training staff, and within seconds, left the mound, his arm seemingly limp.
He was replaced by Alfredo Aceves, who was given extra time to warm up as the Red Sox had not had anyone throwing in the bullpen at the time of the injury.
Lackey underwent Tommy John surgery on his elbow in October of 2011 and Saturday marked his return to the regular season mound.
He had appeared sharp througout the game, mixing in all of his pitches and topping out at 94 mph with his fastball. He had fanned eight of the 18 hitters he faced without allowing a walk.
If Lackey is headed to the DL and out of the rotation, it would seem that the Sox would merely move Aceves into his spot in the rotation. The Sox were impressed with Allen Webster in spring training, but he's made only start above Double A in his career (Friday night for Pawtucket) and the organization wants to give him additional time in the minors to develop.