BOSTON -- John Lackey was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, but the Red Sox are hopeful that he'll be able to rejoin the rotation in two weeks' time.
Lackey walked off the mound in Toronto with one out in the fifth inning Saturday, grabbing his right biceps are a pitch. It was Lackey's first appearance on a major-league mound after undergoing Tommy John surgery some 17 months ago.
Lackey had a brief side session Tuesday in which he threw 15 pitches and experienced some tightness. The Sox thought it best to shut him down for a while, rather than risk bringing him back too soon.
"We feel pretty good about it,'' said GM Ben Cherington. "His MRI was pretty clean. We think the strain is sort of akin to a cramp. This early in the season we just felt that, rather than rush to get him back in a 10-12 day period, it was better to get it right, let him go through a progression, let him get back up on a mound and face some hitters. Once we started to look at the schedule, it didn't make sense to rush it to avoid the DL.''
"We needed to give that 48-72 [hour] period recovery period,'' explained manager John Farrell. "[Tuesday], he came in and got treatment and went through some light throwing. The biceps still had some stifness to it, so, not knowing how many days he'll need to have that irritation completely resolved, we just thought it was in his best interest to put him on the DL, let that recover at its own rate and not have him feel like he's up against the calendar and forcing things to get back to the mound.
"Once we're able to test him under normal game speed, the one thing we have to be sure of is when John goes to the mound again, he's not wondering if this is going to rear its head again or how it holds up. We need to test it in earnest before we can activate him.''
Alfredo Aceves is the choice to replace Lackey in the rotation. The Sox even jumped him ahead of No. 4 starter Felix Doubront, who had been scheduled to throw Thursday with Lackey's next turn set for Friday.
"We wanted another right-hander in this ballpark against Baltimore,'' explained Farrell. "Alfredo has had some good performance numbers against some individuals in that lineup, particularly [catcher Matt] Wieters. Keeping him on the left side of the plate was one of the factors in that.''