TORONTO -- When John Lackey takes the mound for the Red Sox on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre, it will mark his first appearance in a regular-season game since Sept. 25, 2011.
The road back from Tommy John surgery has been a long one for Lackey, and now he gets the payoff.
"You could probably talk to any number of pitchers who have gone through Tommy John surgery and the countless hours of rehab," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I would hope, and I'm sure he will, take a moment to reflect back on what the last 16 months have been. We all feel John has the ability to impact our team in a positive way as much as anyone in our clubhouse."
Lackey went 2-0 with a 5.40 ERA in four Grapefruit League starts this spring.
"He was consistent," Farrell said . "And not just from the stuff he took to the mound every day, but the consistency of his command throughout Spring Training. You're going to see guys go through some arm strength fluctuations that can lead to inconsistent command or stuff, but I think that's a tribute to what he's done with his body in reshaping it. It's given him more consistent body control that's led to more consistent strike throwing."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.