EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

October 24, 2013

Inside and out, Lackey wins us over

BOSTON — Don’t expect that when John Lackey leaves Boston a year from now, when his contract unofficially expires (the Red Sox own the option for 2015), that he leaves with a big wave good-bye.

A thumb to the nose is probably more like it.

To put it politely, the 6-foot-5 Texas native doesn’t appears to like “us” and hasn’t forgiven “us” for what he endured the previous three years, when he either stunk, was hurt, or both.

He was given a few opportunities yesterday, two relaxing hours before the tension-filled opener last night, to wax poetic about his unexpected worst-to-first-like climb here and how he has finally won over “us.”

At one point he was asked what he would tell an impending free agent of his opinion of playing for the Red Sox.

He didn’t even nibble at it.

“I’m not going to get into all that,” said Lackey. “I’m focused on trying to win a ball game tomorrow.”

Contrast that with what starter Jake Peavy said a few weeks ago, that he was born to pitch for this city and these fans, and you understand his lingering angst.

There has always been an interesting dichotomy about Lackey. His teammates don’t like him; they adore him.

“Coming up as a rookie I looked up to him,” said Sox first baseman Mike Napoli of his time with Lackey with the Angels. “He was a veteran to me, showed me the way on the field, off the field, how to carry myself. So to see what he’s gone through and to bounce back like this, it’s awesome. It’s a good feeling just to see a friend be able to overcome some stuff and get healthy and be who he is.”

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