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Lackey to pitch through rest of contract

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ST. LOUIS -- Though he'll be doing so at the Major League minimum, John Lackey is "absolutely" going to honor the remainder of his contract and pitch for the Cardinals in 2015.

The guaranteed portion of the five-year, $82.5 million deal that Lackey signed with the Red Sox in 2009 is set to expire at the end of the season. Written into the contract, though, was a club-friendly option that triggered because he missed extensive time with an elbow injury. It was included as protection for the Red Sox, who knew the right-hander had a pre-existing issue with his elbow.

As a result the Cardinals can retain Lackey next season for a salary that should be just a bit over $500,000. There were reports earlier this season that Lackey would consider retiring if that club option wasn't nullified with an extension. Upon reporting to Busch Stadium on Friday, he said that wouldn't be the case.

"I'm absolutely going to [pitch]," Lackey said. "As long as I stay healthy, I'm going to."

The fact that he was dealt plays a role in that decision.

"Obviously, it was case by case," he said. "It would have been a harder decision other places, for sure, but this is definitely somewhere I wanted to be, and I'm excited about it."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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