Since returning to the hill from Tommy John surgery, Lackey has been near perfect; the RHP limited Philadelphia to four hits and a run over five innings, walking one and striking out one.
“I felt good with the ball being on the ground a lot,” said Lackey. “It was a good sign for me. I’m still throwing a majority of fastballs, trying to build my arm strength up. It was nice.”
About Bradley, Cherington said: “We haven’t made any decisions,” said general manager Ben Cherington. “We’ve got spots still up for competition. Anybody who is in big league camp this late in spring has a chance to make the team. There’s nobody that’s in camp now that isn’t somehow in the mix. Obviously we’ve got some paring down still to do, but those decisions are going to come as we get into next week. There’s still two or three spots up for competition.”
While it seemed inconceivable when camp opened that Sox #2 prospect, Bradley, would be starting in CF, the loss left-handed hitters David Ortiz and Stephen Drew have made it likely.
The loss of Drew also opened the door for Iglesias to show off his glove and try to replace his rolled up wet newspaper with a Major league bat.
Cherington was ebullient about Bradley:
“It’s hard to ignore what he’s done this spring,” said Cherington. “Every step in a player’s career is another step. We knew he was a good player coming off last year. We knew he was going to get his first experience in a big league camp this year. Until it happens, we don’t know how it’s going to go. It’s hard to ignore what he’s done. Every time something like that happens, it’s a next step, and it’s one less thing he has to prove.
“It’s been fun to watch. There’s a number of young guys who have looked good this spring. It’s been very encouraging from that standpoint.”
There are some other factors to consider as well. Do the Red Sox want to start the clock on Bradley’s service time this early, potentially making him a free agent after 2018 instead of ’19?
“There’s all sorts of factors to consider, but the simplest ones are probably the most important, and those are: Is there an everyday role? Is the player really ready for it? And what’s our best team?” said Cherington. “If we use that to guide us, we’ll more often than not make the right decision. We have to see how it plays out. Yeah, there are other factors, but those that I mentioned are the most important.”