By Maureen Mullen
BOSTON Right-hander Scott Atchison was in the Red Sox clubhouse early Monday afternoon. But, manager Terry Francona called it a miscommunication.
He actually was picking something up, Francona said.
As it turns out, Atchison was actually picking up his place on the Red Sox roster. Just before game time the team announced that John Lackey was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to May 12, with a right elbow strain.
Lackey, 32, has struggled this season. In seven starts he is 2-5 with an ERA of 8.01. He is in the second year of a five-year, 82.5 million contract. The Sox hold a conditional option for 2015. If Lackey misses significant time with surgery in 2010-2014 for a pre-existing elbow injury, they can pick up the 2015 option at the major league minimum salary.
Although Lackey did not spend time on the DL last season, his first with the Sox, he began 2008 and 2009 on the DL, with a strained right triceps and a strained right forearm, respectively.
In his last start, May 11 in Toronto, he went 6 23 innings, giving up nine runs on nine this and five walks with one strikeout. After the game, he said Everything in his life stinks right now.
Although Lackey did not get more specific than that, he announced in spring training that his wife Krista had been treated in the offseason for breast cancer.
Before Mondays announcement of Lackeys trip to the DL, Francona said Lackey was feeling better after his latest side session.
I think Lack felt really good about himself after his side the other day, Francona said. I know theyve been working on things in the bullpen as they always do. Hands over the head, hands below on the deliverythings like that that all pitching coaches and pitchers do. Its always a constant work in progress.
There have been games all year where hes had a drop in velocity in a certain inning. Its not always been the same inning.
Several factors can contribute to that, Francona said.
Is there baserunners? Is he in a bind? Is he trying to locate? Is it physical? A lot of those things we try to figure out ourselves, Francona said.
But they had come up with no answers.
Not yet, Francona said. We always try. Were here all day. Maybe sometimes we try too hard.
Lackey had a similar issue with a drop in velocity last season.
Yeah, at times, Francona said. Im not sure its even a problem as sometimes he starts pitching a little bit
Shortstop Marco Scutaro, on the DL since May 8 with a left oblique strain, returned to the team after receiving treatment -- ice, heat, laser, and cardio work -- over the weekend at his home in Miami.
I cant even really tell how it feels until I start swinging, said Scutaro. I dont feel anything, just when I move. I didnt do anything all last week, so from today on, Ill be doing activities, and well go from there.
The next step for him will be swinging a bat, which could be today. Up until now, hes been cautious. The medical staff told him the injury gets worse, it could take two months to heal.
Right-hander Bobby Jenks, on the DL since May 2 with a right biceps strain, is getting close to being able to play catch.
I hope so, Francona said. Hell be examined today by Red Sox medical director, Dr. Tom Gill. Obviously thats kind of an important exam. He has to be symptom-free or I think the feeling is hell be putting a Band-Aid on something that we want getting better.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen