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Lackey glad to get into game routine vs. Italy

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MESA, Ariz. -- It didn't matter to Cubs pitcher John Lackey that he was facing Team Italy.

"It's Spring Training," Lackey said after his first spring outing in Tuesday's 8-7 Cubs loss to Italy's World Baseball Classic team. "I kind of have a routine of what I do the first start, second start. The last two starts before the season, I'll pitch with everything and go get 'em."

MESA, Ariz. -- It didn't matter to Cubs pitcher John Lackey that he was facing Team Italy.

"It's Spring Training," Lackey said after his first spring outing in Tuesday's 8-7 Cubs loss to Italy's World Baseball Classic team. "I kind of have a routine of what I do the first start, second start. The last two starts before the season, I'll pitch with everything and go get 'em."

Lackey gave up one hit over two innings against Team Italy, a two-out single to Alex Liddi in the second. The Cubs right-hander finished his outing by striking out Gavin Cecchini.

"It's a good one to keep moving forward on," Lackey said.

He didn't know how many pitches he threw, but Lackey guessed the total included one breaking ball. He didn't bother to look at the radar gun readings posted on the scoreboard.

"I don't look at the gun in June," Lackey said.

At 38, this will be Lackey's 15th season. He likes pitching in games. It's those days in between that are tough.

"Definitely, the stuff in between starts gets hard the older you get," Lackey said. "When you're out on the field competing, that's still a lot of fun. The other stuff gets a little tougher the older you get. It's necessary for you to compete at a high level."

Lackey was looking forward to adding another World Series ring to his collection. He's already got two, winning with the Angels in 2002 and again with the Red Sox in 2013. However, when asked where he kept his jewelry, Lackey said they were in a box somewhere in his closet. At least he thought that's where they were.

"I've got a rubber wedding band, for goodness sakes," Lackey said. "I'm not a huge flashy kind of guy. It's going to be awesome to have, for sure. If I go to a wedding and have to wear a tux, I'll wear one of them, that's about it."

He did order a pair of custom World Series champion boots Tuesday. Lackey will wear those.

"One hundred percent," he said. "Those will get sported around, for sure."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs, John Lackey