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Lackey Makes Spring Debut, Not A Fan Of Announcing Ball-Strike Count

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Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — Red Sox starter John Lackey left the mound following his Grapefriut League debut on Tuesday, pleased with the work he was able to put in against the Miami Marlins.

Lackey tossed 2.2 innings against Miami at JetBlue Park, allowing three runs off four hits while striking out two. He threw 30 of his 47 pitches for strikes, giving up all three runs in the third inning.

“I felt alright. It was a good place to start. I pretty much threw all fastballs over the first two innings, and tried to work on a few other things in the third inning,” Lackey said following the outing. “I got a little tired and will probably be a little sore tomorrow. But it was a good place to start.”

Lackey’s only other outing of the spring was a simulated game against minor leaguers last week, so it was important for him to have a good feel on the hill on Tuesday.

“I think I threw a 3-2 breaking ball for a strikeout, which is something I’ll have to do during the season,” said Lackey. “Fastball location was pretty decent; I threw a bunch of heaters and threw some four-seamers, just trying to build the arm-strength.”

Following a dismal 2011 season, Lackey missed all of 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. But he was back to his work-horse self in 2013, giving Boston 189.1 innings while going 10-13 with a 3.52 ERA in 29 starts. He was even better in the playoffs, going 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA, out-dueling Detroit ace Justin Verlander in a 1-0 Red Sox win in Game 3 of the ALCS and notching the win in Boston’s World Series clincher at Fenway Park in Game 6 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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With an extra month of work at the end of last season, Lackey and the rest of Boston’s starting pitchers were given a little extra rest to begin spring training, which is why Lackey’s spring debut came so late. The 35-year-old, with over 2,000 innings under his belt during his 11-year career, was happy to get the breather to start the year, and has little doubt he’ll be ready to go April 2 in Baltimore for his first start of the regular season.

“I think it’s a good idea,” he said of the rest to start spring. “We went pretty deep into the season last year and had a pretty good workload. With the veteran guys we have I think it will work out well for us. We know what we need to do to get ready.”

The Red Sox tried something new at JetBlue park on Tuesday, as the team’s PA announcer announced the count between pitches. While it didn’t bother him on the mound, Lackey wasn’t a very big fan.

“That’s a bad idea. Whoever did that hasn’t been between the lines,” he said.

“For me it wasn’t that big of a deal, because I’m not worried about throwing strikes. But I could foresee a situation with someone struggling to throw strikes, you’re pretty much beating him over the head with it. He realizes it’s a ball, he doesn’t want to hear it again.” Lackey said to some chuckles. “That’s a bad idea.”

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