John Farrell Praises John Lackey, Thinks Pitcher Could Make Big Impact for Red Sox in 2013

John LackeyJohn Lackey will enter the 2013 season as one of the Red Sox’ biggest question marks. Manager John Farrell also thinks he could be one of the team’s most important pieces.

“I think he has a chance to have as big an impact on our club as anyone on our roster,” Farrell said on WEEI’s Red Sox Hot Stove Show. “He looks great. I think when people see him for the first time, they’ll probably be surprised about how he reshaped his body. He probably dropped about 12 to 15 pounds. I had a chance to watch him throw. His arm was loose. He was upbeat, looking forward to putting Tommy John and some of those recent experiences behind him.”

Lackey’s tenure with the Sox hasn’t exactly been pretty. He arrived with high expectations before the 2010 season and his production hasn’t been in line with the five-year, $82.5 million deal he signed with the club, which has some Boston fans understandably frustrated. Farrell is sticking by the hurler, though, and thinks there’s a chance we’ll see the same pitcher who won 19 games for the Angels in 2007.

“I think we have yet to see the John Lackey we signed here,” Farrell said. “To see what he’s done reshaping his body, the way he’s talked with eagerness to get back on the mound … I really  think that, there’s a different side of John Lackey than what has been seen. I’m not making any excuses for anything that’s happened in the past, but the best thing John can do is go out and pitch as he’s capable. Now that he’s healthy, he’s had his arm repaired and the elbow fixed, he has a chance to do just that.”

Lackey struggled with the Red Sox in 2010 and 2011, and Tommy John surgery sidelined him for all of 2012. If Boston’s rotation is to make strides this season, though, Lackey will need to provide quality innings.

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

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