Lackey ready to face hitters

Lackey ready to face hitters

BOSTON -- Right-hander John Lackey admits that he has a considerable amount of excitement about the opportunity he will get on Saturday, when he'll face hitters for the first time in 2012.

Lackey will throw batting practice to teammates, marking the first time he's thrown to hitters since last season.

Following the 2011 season, Lackey underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

"I feel good, real good," said Lackey. "We're moving in the right direction, that's for sure."

The goal is for Lackey to pitch a couple of innings before the season ends. With the Minor League seasons ready to wind down, the perk for Lackey is that he might get to pitch those innings for the Red Sox instead of through a rehab assignment.

"Lack has been throwing really [well] in the bullpen," said manager Bobby Valentine. "Now we'll set up some hitters for him tomorrow. I don't know if he's fully recovered, but it sure is close. He's really throwing the ball well."