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Lackey getting close to mound work

CLEVELAND -- For the second straight day, John Lackey played long toss, but Thursday is a more significant day as the righty throws off the mound for the first time since straining his right biceps on April 6.

"We're planning to get him off a mound tomorrow, lightly," said manager John Farrell. "If all goes well, he would have another bullpen [session] on the weekend with some game activity shortly thereafter so he's making very good progress. There's no symptoms remaining in the biceps area and he feels really upbeat and positive with the way things stand right now."

By game activity, Farrell means that Lackey will either start a Minor League rehab assignment or pitch a simulated game.

"We haven't sat and mapped it out with him yet, so I think the one thing we've communicated clearly with John is that we want to be sure we test him as best possible before we get him back in a game at the Major League level," Farrell said. "We'll work through all that."

Alfredo Aceves again made his second start in place of Lackey on Wednesday night in Cleveland. Lackey is eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday, but he's likely a little bit behind that schedule.

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.
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