John Lackey threw batting practice yesterday at Fenway Park.

Cue the jokes.

All kidding aside, it was a significant milestone in Lackey's comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery nearly 11 months ago and the first step to a potential appearance for the often-criticized right-hander under game conditions before the end of the season.

"Ideally, we'd like to get him in a competitive game environment somewhere," general manager Ben Cherington said. "We haven't figured out where or when that will be, but he's on track for that."