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Lackey on his 2011 debut: 'Good first step'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox pitcher John Lackey made his Grapefruit League debut Wednesday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves at City of Palms Park.

The right-hander worked two innings and allowed one run (solo homer by Alex Gonzalez) on four hits with one strikeout. He threw 41 pitches, 25 strikes.

“I felt good,” Lackey said. “I threw a bunch of fastballs and that’s pretty much what I wanted to do today. I was trying to work on my arm strength and it was a good first step.”

In his first season with the Red Sox in 2010, Lackey posted a 14-11 record with a 4.40 ERA in 33 starts (215 innings). It’s clear he’s more comfortable this spring.

“I’m a lot more comfortable this year, for sure,” Lackey said.

He said he also believes his arm strength this spring is ahead of schedule.