Lackey sharp in his second spring training outing


Lackey sharp in his second spring training outing

By MaureenMullen

FORT MYERS, Fla. - In his second Grapefruit League outing against the Orioles Monday afternoon at City of Palms Park, John Lackey went four scoreless innings, giving up one hit, in the Red Sox' 6-5 victory.

"I was happy with fastball location today," he said. "The rotation of my four-seam fastball was nice. It was nice and true. I still haven't started throwing my cutter yet. Probably ready to do that next start. It was a good step forward.

"I threw some really good changeups. I was really happy about that. Didn't throw that many curveballs. But the changeup was a big plus for me."

Manager Terry Francona was happy with what he saw.

"He was commanding very well," Francona said. "His touch and feel look so good. That was nice to see."

Of the 13 batters he faced, Lackey got groundball outs from seven.

"He's pitching to contact and throwing a lot of strikes, working ahead in the count," Francona said. "Just thought he had a real nice feel. It's still early in the spring for him. As far as velocity, he's probably the last on the staff out of the chute, and that's okay. He's been doing this a long time. But he certainly pitched very well."

Lackey threw 39 pitches, 29 for strikes. Looking to get to 55 total pitches, he went to the bullpen after his outing was complete and threw 16 more.

He has given up just one run in six combined innings this spring. In his last outing, against the Braves on Wednesday, he pitched two innings.

"I felt really good today," he said. "That's a pretty big jump in pitches from the last one. So I'll probably be pretty sore tomorrow."

Lackey has yet to incorporate a cutter into his game repertoire.

"That's okay with us," Francona said. "We don't want to ever say no, don't throw a certain pitch in spring training. But we'd like guys to establish their fastball, arm strength, arm speed before they start working on a cutter. Some guys get out there and you start competing and you want to get outs. Lack's been doing this long enough to know to get ready for the season."

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Sandoval: I got lazy after signing big contract with Red Sox

Sandoval: I got lazy after signing big contract with Red Sox

The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is underway as the former World Series MVP tries to revive his career after two disastrous seasons with the Red Sox organization.

In an interview with ESPN Deportes, he admits to being “complacent” during his first two seasons in Boston after signing a five-year, $95 million deal. 

"My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished," Sandoval said. "I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be."

After dealing Travis Shaw to the Brewers, Sandoval is expected to be the Red Sox primary third baseman in 2017.

"I am not taking anything for granted," he said. "I am here to work hard. I'm not thinking about the position or not. I am starting from scratch, and I am here to show what I can do on the field."

The 30-year-old says he’s following a “really strict routine” this offseason, and it shows. In a recent photo, Sandoval appears noticeably thinner. Sandoval says his wife giving birth to “Baby Panda” has served as inspiration.

"Watching 'Baby Panda' grow up and that he gets the opportunity to see his father play in the majors for seven, eight more years, to get back to the success I had, that's my motivation every day," Sandoval said. "The people that I surround myself with now and my family, they are the key to my success. This has been a life lesson."

Tanguay: Could Red Sox ownership be going for it now, then sell the team?

Tanguay: Could Red Sox ownership be going for it now, then sell the team?

Could John Henry sell ownership of the Boston Red Sox anytime soon, or does he want to keep winning?  Shaughnessy, Merloni, and Tanguay debate.