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John Lackey injures arm, leaves game in fifth inning

John Lackey, four innings into a surprisingly strong start, has left Saturday's game with an arm injury that looks bad.

Tom Szczerbowski

[Update] The Red Sox are saying it's a bicep strain. Hard to believe it's so simple until he's back on the mound, though.


In his first regular season start since 2011, John Lackey was opening eyes. Eight strikeouts in 4.1 innings, one two-run homer from J.P. Arencibia the only blemish on his outing. Then, with a 2-2 count to Jose Reyes in the fifth, he delivered a wild pitch home, and immediately grabbed at his right arm in obvious pain. Less than a minute later, he was headed off the field, his whole right arm held limp at his side.

We don't know what's wrong yet, but it looks bad. Very bad. If there's any good news to be found here, it's that Lackey was grabbing at his bicep, not his elbow, making it less likely that this is related to his Tommy John surgery. That doesn't mean it's not serious, though.

If indeed Lackey is lost to the Red Sox--and it's really hard not to jump to that conclusion given how it looked--then the team has very few options left to them. An off day on Tuesday should let the team get through the rotation once without making any moves, but after that they have to find someone. Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa aren't really ready yet. Franklin Morales is still working his way back from injury. That would leave the likes of Steven Wright, Graham Godfrey, and Alfredo Aceves, all of them charter members of the "there but for the grace of God go I" club.

Losing John Lackey would not have seemed like much of a hit a couple of hours ago, so perhaps this is a case of nothing lost. But after those eight strikeouts...well, it's just perfectly awful timing is what it is.