Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Mlb-red-sox-tigers-may
John Lackey ran into some third-inning trouble and wasn’t exactly overpowering, but the right-hander once again took another step forward in his fourth start of the spring on Sunday. Lackey allowed two runs on four hits, walked one and struck out two while throwing 66 pitches in 3 2/3 innings. With the outing, the 34-year-old has now twirled 9 2/3 innings this spring, and he’s allowed six runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out four. Those numbers aren’t exactly ace-like, but it’s hard to complain when the pitcher in question has endured his fair share of struggles in recent years and is coming off a missed season because of Tommy John surgery. It’s even harder to complain when you factor in the gradual progress that Lackey has seemed to make in each of his starts. Lackey’s first start was all about clearing the mental hurdle of returning the mound. He admitted after that two-inning outing that he was simply trying to get the ball over the plate, and the idea of mixing up his pitches was far from his mind. Four starts later, the more intricate details are beginning to seep into Lackey’s approach, and the result has been a rather impressive arsenal, all things considered. Lackey worked both sides of the plate well on Sunday, and his offspeed stuff was as good as it’s been all spring. He did get touched up a bit in the second inning as a result of giving up three straight singles and a walk, but even in the process, he didn’t look all that bad. One hit was a groundball up the middle that just trickled past the infield, and another was a groundball into the hole between shortstop and third base that Pedro Ciriaco made a play on but couldn’t turn into an out. Will Lackey need to improve on the overall results going forward? Absolutely. But at this point, with three weeks to go before Opening Day, he looks comfortable, which is really more than can be said for most — if not all — of the righty’s Red Sox tenure. A step here, and step there: that’s really the best way to summarize Lackey’s spring thus far. And you know what? That’s all right for now, as it could set him up for better things when the contests start counting for real. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LeBron's triple-double leads Cavs to win in OT thriller

Report: Adrian Peterson will skip Vikings first OTAs

Corey Brewer: We got our butt kicked, it was embarrassing

Brian Kelly hints Notre Dame will have fast offense

John Madden: Last play of Super Bowl will 'torment' Pete Carroll

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Cristiano Ronaldo nets hat trick, sets career high for goals

WATCH: Cormier tells Jones to get his s-- together

Fans holding 'Free Tom Brady Rally' at Gillette Stadium

Josh Hamilton to be activated by Rangers

WATCH: Top CB recruit makes insane catch doing backflip

Biggest surprises of the MLB season

Most valuable non-QB for each NFL team

Federer unhappy with security after fan comes on court

WATCH: LeBron throws down ferocious dunk in traffic

WATCH: Al Horford ejected for elbowing Matthew Dellavedova

Seahawks fan starts GoFundMe for Russell Wilson's contract

Billy Donovan thanks Florida fans with full-page ad

WATCH: Daniel Cormier gets into it with Ryan Bader

Jim Harbaugh compares his driving to Jeff Gordon's

WATCH: High school seals win with perfect hidden ball trick

Warriors crush Rockets in Houston to take 3-0 series lead

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell whiffs on horrible golf swing

Brian Matusz ejected for having foreign substance on arm

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Most valuable non-QB for each NFL team

WATCH: LeBron's ferocious dunk in traffic

Kelly drops hint about ND offense

John Madden: Last SB play will 'torment' Carroll

Eight biggest surprises of the MLB season

Bryan Price ejected before first pitch

Vin Scully narrates marriage proposal

Pats fan's obituary defends Brady

Marlins players skip own charity event

John Wall tells All-NBA Team voters to ‘keep sleeping’

Jim Kelly: No doubt Tom Brady cheated

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.