John Lackey and Red Sox avoid catastrophe

As expected, John Lackey avoided serious injury Saturday after leaving his season debut with a dangling right arm. Team president Larry Lucchino went on WEEI this morning and said his "understanding of the MRI is that he had a mid-biceps strain, [and] no structural damage". This is best-case scenario for Lackey considering the amount of pain he was in, and the fact that he was coming off of a recently reconstructed elbow.

If we are to trust Lucchino, which no one would blame you for not, Lackey will most likely only miss a couple of starts rather than a significant portion of the season, or potentially the rest of his career. The Sox have an off day tomorrow, so they can skip Lackey's start this time through the rotation. They then have 19 straight games until April 29, meaning someone will need to fill Lackey's spot one or two times (or more, depending on the severity of the strain).

The Sox could wait until they need a spot-starter, which would be next Monday against the Rays, to decide what to do with Lackey. If Lackey needs to go on the DL, then they would either to use Alfredo Aceves for one or two starts, and bring up a reliever to take his spot in the bullpen (ideally, Craig Breslow or Franklin Morales would be ready to come off the DL by then). They could also bring up a starter from the minors (Allen Webster, anyone?). If Lackey does not need to go on the DL, then Aceves would probably only be needed for that one start, and Lackey could slide back into his spot around April 20. No one wants to see Aceves start -- or pitch again ever again for that matter -- but if it means Lackey's strain does not require a DL stint, Sox fans should be happy.

Update: Nick Cafardo has confirmed the good news.

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