By Maureen Mullen
DETROIT Right-hander John Lackey, on the disabled list since May 12 with an elbow strain, continues to progress. Friday afternoon, he threw two innings of a simulated game, with about 40 pitches.
Lackey, threw all his pitches, saying he thought his command was pretty good while his velocity was close to what it should be.
It was pretty good, he said. I felt like I was locating my fastball pretty good today. Working on tightening up my cutter a little bit. Its gotten a little bit loose. Thats one of the main things I was working on.
I was pretty close to letting it go. Ill probably be a little sore tomorrow but it feels fine today.
Lackey is scheduled to make a rehab start, with about 70 pitches, Tuesday in Pawtucket. If everything goes well in that game, he should be ready to be activated.
I think thats what we're thinking right now, he said. But definitely have to see how I feel after the real game. I dont see why I shouldnt be ready.
Right-hander Bobby Jenks is scheduled to throw an inning in a rehab game tonight for Pawtucket. If his outing goes well, he will throw another inning for the PawSox on Sunday.
J.D. Drew is not in the lineup tonight, the third straight game he will have missed with a strained right hamstring. He said he could be available to pinch-hit tonight, if needed, and expects to be back in the lineup Saturday. He tweaked the hamstring making a catch in foul territory in the ninth inning of Tuesdays game in Cleveland.
I knew when I woke up the next morning, he said. I was like, Oh, this is not very good. I got to be kind of careful not to make it real bad. Feeling much better today though.
With Drews absence Carl Crawford has moved up to No. 6 in the lineup, coinciding with his offensive outburst. It could be a long-term move for Crawford, though.
Yeah, I think I kind of like the idea of moving him up in the order, Francona said. Because, first of all I think its justified. Hes hot as can be. I didnt want him to hit eighth for the whole year. I think that was pretty obvious. I didnt want to move Dustin Pedroia out of the two hole. So I could see that being that way for a while. As soon as I say that something will happen.
Shortstop Marco Scutaro hit off a tee for the third consecutive day, as he makes his way back from the DL (since May 8) with a left oblique strain. He said he hasnt felt any pain in his side, and could advance to hitting in the cage on Sunday.
Its the first time in his career hes been on the DL. How is he handling it? Im bored, he said. Actually, I was bored a couple of weeks ago.
Talking about the collision at home plate that left Giants catcher Buster Posey injured and likely out for the season, Francona recalled a similar play from his own career: Mike Scioscia got me once. He hurt me. We were facing Fernando Valenzuela, so the lefties played. Bryan Little led off with a double. I hit a ball to right center. They end up giving me a double. They threw Bryan out at the plate. Scioscia charged him and just knocked him back towards third. I was standing on second laughing. Andre Dawson hits a base hit. The same thing happened to me. Neither one of us even got to the dirt. I slid, but he attacked me.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen