- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Red Sox rehabbing pitcher John Lackey has now thrown a total of three bullpen sessions of no more than 20 pitches in each and says that he’s throwing at 70 to 80 percent effort.
“It felt good, man,” Lackey told ESPN Boston of his latest session on Tuesday at Fenway Park. “The long toss is probably the most important thing for me right now to build arm strength. I think I need to throw two bullpens a week for the next two months. It’s a long process and at least we’re moving forward.”
The veteran right-hander had Tommy John surgery last November and his rehab is right on schedule. Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said Wednesday that Lackey should be able to pitch in a game somewhere by the end of 2012.
“He’s working extremely hard in his conditioning effort and his rehabilitation effort,” Valentine said. “The projections have been for him to be pitching before the year is out, meaning the calendar year, and I think he’s right on schedule. I don’t know about the season, but he’ll be pitching somewhere before the year is over.”
Lackey, who has performed most of his rehab at the club’s spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla., will remain with the Sox for the remainder of the season.
“It’s definitely encouraging, everything that’s happened so far,” Lackey said. “My arm feels way better than it did when I was pitching last year, so that’s nice. Being able to put on spikes and getting on the mound has been a while, so it’s been fun and I’m definitely eager and looking forward to getting into a game.”