If John Lackey could pitch against American League batters as effectively as he pitched last night against the International League's Norfolk Tides, one major concern about Boston's starting rotation would be left in the rear-view mirror.

Lackey went on the disabled list May 12 with a right elbow strain soon after he was lit up by Toronto for nine earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. But in last night's rehab start for Pawtucket, he rendered Norfolk's bats as useless as toothpicks.

In 5 2/3 innings, he allowed one run on three hits with zero walks and four strikeouts as the PawSox beat Norfolk, 5-4, in 11 innings. Lackey threw 46 of 63 pitches for strikes and topped out at 94 miles per hour on McCoy Stadium's radar gun.