John Lackey slated for June 5 return from elbow injury

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John Lackey threw a 40-pitch bullpen session yesterday and said afterward that his injured elbow “felt pretty good” and “definitely a lot better than I’ve been feeling.”

According to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal he’ll throw another bullpen session Friday and then head out on a brief minor-league rehab assignment, which barring a setback would put Lackey in line to come off the disabled list and rejoin the Red Sox’s rotation on June 5 against the A’s.

Lackey has been on the shelf since April 15 and went 2-5 with an 8.01 ERA in seven starts prior to being shut down, telling Britton that the elbow problems date back further than his final pre-DL start.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.