By Sean McAdam
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- John Lackey wasn't trying to fool anyone in his Grapefruit League debut Wednesday, so when former Red Sox shortstop Alex Gonzalez drove a pitch out of the ballpark for a solo homer in the first, Lackey wasn't about to give him much credit.
"I threw a bunch of fastballs," said a smiling Lackey, who pitched two innings in the Red Sox' 6-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves. "It was pretty obvious what was coming and he hit one."
Lackey concentrated almost exclusive on four-seam fastballs in order to build arm strength and work on fastball command.
He said he already feels a bit stronger physically this season. That may be somewhat attributable to the loss of about 15 pounds, along with a slightly more aggressive approach to spring training.
"Coming into spring training in 2010," said Lackey, "I basically wanted to get through it healthy because I hadn't done that for the two years beforehand. I think I'm kind of walking a fine line of pushing it a little more this year and still making it through healthy."
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Mooke Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and a mix of Andrew Benintendi, Brock Holt, Blake Swihart and Chris Young brought postgame celebrations to a new level last season.
Most Sox fans are familiar with the outfield victory "Win, Dance, Repeat" where the trio would dance and pretend to photograph the game's best player between them. The celebration ended with a pose at first, but as seen the MLB the Show 17's freshly released trailer, a few more wrinkes were added in.
In fact, here's a taste of the celebrations and what else to expect from Playstation's 2017 MLB game:
Carlos Beltran, the 39-year-old switch hitter who was a potential target of the Red Sox as a DH, agreed to a free-agent deal with the Houston Astros, ESPN's Buster Olney reported.
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports that it's a one-year, $16 million deal.
Beltran played for the Astros in 2004. He was dealt from the New York Yankees to the Texas Rangers at the July 31 trading deadline last season. He totaled 35 homers, 101 RBI and hit .295 in 2016.
The Red Sox, looking to fill the void left by David Ortiz's retirement, will be looking for a DH at the Winter Meetings that begin next week. One possibility is the return of Mike Napoli, who played for the A.L. champion Cleveland Indians last season.
More on the Winter Meetings here from CSN Red Sox Insider Sean McAdam.