While Clay Buchholz made a much-welcomed return to the Red Sox clubhouse before Wednesday’s game against Toronto Blue Jays, manager Bobby Valentine also addressed some news about the progress of John Lackey, who recently began bullpen work after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last November.
Valentine said he believed Lackey, who threw a light bullpen session Tuesday, was on schedule to throw before the end of the 2012 calendar year.
“He’s in the weight room. He’s working extremely hard, in his conditioning effort, in his rehabilitation effort,’’ Valentine said. “I think the projections of him pitching before the year is out, meaning the calendar year, I think he’s right on schedule. I don’t know about the season. But he’ll be pitching somewhere, I think, before the year’s over.”
Approached in the clubhouse before Wednesday’s game, Lackey confirmed he had thrown off the mound three times already, including twice last week.
“It’s been like 20 pitches so far, like 80 percent effort kind of deal,’’ Lackey said. ‘’Long toss is the main thing for me right now, just trying to build my arm strength back up. I’ve got about two bullpens a week for about the next two months, so it’s a long process.’’
Lackey, though, viewed it as a positive step in his ongoing rehab.
“Yeah, there’s been no setbacks, so it’s been all positive,’’ he said. “My arm feels great so it’s definitely moving in the right direction. But it’s going to be a while before I get into a game, for sure.”