Bradenton, Fla. - Boston's John Lackey retired the Pittsburgh Pirates on eight pitches in the first inning. Then he labored through a 35-pitch second inning.
"After the first inning being so quick, I definitely needed to throw a few pitches," Lackey said after the Red Sox routed the Pittsburgh Pirates 16-6 Thursday. "It was more about getting up and down a couple times today. That was the biggest key for me."
Lackey, who missed last season following elbow ligament-replacement surgery, was making his second spring training start. Pittsburgh took a 3-1 lead in the second when Brandon Inge and Clint Robinson singled, and Jared Goedert sent a curveball into the Red Sox bullpen beyond the left-field wall.
Lackey threw only fastballs in his one inning last weekend against Tampa Bay. He mixed in offspeed pitches against the Pirates.
"I threw a couple good ones, hung a couple," he said. "A good step in the right direction. I'm still looking for a little bit of feel. But there hasn't been any pain and I feel like my arm strength is getting better, so I'm encouraged."
• Red Sox 3B Will Middlebrooks took batting practice, a few hours after being cleared by a wrist specialist. Middlebrooks left Wednesday night's game when he felt pain in his right wrist on a checked swing. Middlebrooks broke the wrist last August when he was hit by a pitch.