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Angels' John Lackey keeps his head in the game, eye on negotiations

March 17, 2009 |  3:38 pm

Lackey PEORIA, Ariz. -- Not only did Angels ace John Lackey hold the Padres to one run over five innings today, he also laid down two sacrifice bunts.

"I've got to show my skills for National League teams too," Lackey said with a laugh.

Lackey figures to be the best pitcher available in free agency this fall, if he gets there. If he cannot agree with the Angels on an extension by opening day -- he is believed to be seeking five years in the $75 million to $85 million range -- then he has said he would call off negotiations and await free agency.

Lackey's agent, Steve Hilliard, met last week with Angels General Manager Tony Reagins. Lackey said he is letting Hilliard handle the negotiations.

"It's early," Lackey said. "I'm supposed to hear something back this week. We'll see. I'm not worrying too much about it. I'm just trying to handle my business."

-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: John Lackey runs to field a ball during spring training on Feb. 14. Credit: Eric Risberg / Associated Press