BOSTON -- John Lackey could be close to rejoining the Red Sox.
The right-hander, who's been on the disabled list since suffering a strain in his right bicep on April 6, his first outing back from Tommy John surgery, made a rehab start for Double-A Portland on Monday night. He went 3 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and two walks with five strikeouts. Lackey threw 67 pitches, 45 for strikes.
"I felt pretty good," Lackey told reporters Tuesday afternoon at Fenway Park. "I didn't have any issues [with the bicep]. It was good in between innings. “It was pretty cold, so it was a good test to be out there and get through that. I felt like I was locating the ball pretty good, and I got some swing-and-misses, which is a good sign. My arm strength will come with some reps."
He will have a bullpen session on Thursday, and is expected to make his next outing on Sunday. That is likely to be against the Astros in the homestand finale on Sunday at Fenway Park.
“He came out of last night and [we] had a chance to sit down and talk with him today,” said manager John Farrell. “[Lackey had normal] stiffness [and] . . . soreness coming out of last night’s ballgame. Velocity was good. And right now, his scheduled bullpen would be on Thursday. And then I think, provided he comes out of that -- [and] we fully expect him to come out of that okay -- we’ll have an update on where his next start would be. And the potential to start here for us is a real one.”
After his outing last night, Lackey told reporters his biceps strain is “still not 100 percent. There's still a little bit of something there.”
But Farrell said that kind of sensation is not out of the norm.
“I think we’ll have a better read [after] his bullpen on Thursday,” Farrell said. “I think with any kind of strain when you get back to full capacity I don’t think it’s abnormal to feel something there. But the way he spoke of his condition today, everything points to him being able to take his next turn.”
His next turn is scheduled for Sunday against Houston.
"[If] he were to make that start here, we would have multi-inning protection behind him,” Farrell said. “So that’s where we’re at today. But I think Thursday’s bullpen will have a lot to say as far as our next step.”