John Lackey hopes to redeem himself in 2013
Ben Cherington did not break the bank to bring in a star pitcher for 2013, but many forget that he did not really have to. The Sox already have a qualified No. 2/3 starter, and his name is John Lackey.
John Lackey came to Boston (with little fanfare) in 2010 as one of Theo Epstein’s biggest acquisitions that offseason. He underperformed from the outset and earned a great deal of ire from the fans at Fenway. His habit of always scowling, rolling his eyes when asked questions and tossing up his hands when a teammate makes an error hardly qualified him for one of Fenway’s most beloved players.
Lackey went down early in 2012 and took the year off to get Tommy John surgery on his elbow, which had apparently been gradually breaking down ever since he set foot in Boston (how it got past the Sox medical staff, we will never know).
Lackey has returned though, showing up to spring training a week before players were supposed to arrive, and he has been looking good so far. Lackey looks like he lost at least 1o pounds over the offseason and has been throwing with a little extra on his fastball, giving the Sox coaching staff much needed confidence in their starter.
Lackey said he is still confident he will have success in Boston.
“I thought this place would be good for me,’’ Lackey said. “I’m a guy who likes competing and showing some emotion and that is what they want. When I’m pitching well, I think it’ll be a good thing. And I’m going to pitch well. This thing isn’t over.”
It certainly is not over. Lackey has three years remaining on his contract, and you can bet the farm that he will pitch his heart out in every one of them. Lackey may have a bad reputation among fans, but he is a competitor. His intensity is an expression of his strong desire to win, and for a Sox staff that seems too passive, his intensity may be just what the Red Sox need. He is not ace, but that doesn’t mean he can’t go out with the mindset to win every game.
Lackey said he is looking at the 2013 season as a new beginning.
“It’s fresh for me again. It’s a restart in a lot of ways for the team and for myself,” Lackey said. “There’s time to change things. That’s a challenge and I like a challenge.”
Lackey will get about 30 chances to prove to Fenway that he is still a dominant pitcher. Let’s hope for his sake that he does.