Full disclosure: I’ve never been a big John Lackey fan. Over the years he’s been on the wrong end of my poisoned pen in many a column. This year is different.
I learned that, even though Lackey had me miffed – well more than that and it sorta rhymes with miffed – for coming to Boston essentially injured and wasting two years and a lot of money, I ended up pulling for him this year. It’s the underdog in me. It’s the scrawny runt that actually was me who was told as a kid that I was too small and too skinny to play sports. The kid with the brace on his leg that everyone thought was going to be permanently crippled. Well Forest Gump me right out loud, that isn’t the way it turned out. I played a lot of sports and got pretty good at a couple.
With that kind of life experience, I set out this spring in earnest to impose my will on Lackey’s comeback. And it was working to perfection. I played all the what if scenarios that had John Lackey playing a meaningful role in an improbable Boston turnaround. Saturday it felt just like my dream might come true. Then came the 78th pitch of Lackey’s 2013 season and reality pushed back – hard. A pitch or two before it happened, Lackey had stepped off the mound, took off his glove and slowly windmilled his arm. As soon as he released the pitch that injured his bicep the ball arced wildly and he grabbed his right arm, winced and contorted in pain. It took one minute for the Red Sox trainer to walk to the mound, make a quick assessment and quickly escort Lackey from the mound.
It looked ugly. Lackey’s arm hung limp and lifeless. It was hard to tell if he was clutching his elbow or his bicep as he walked to the Red Sox dugout. I expected the worst. But an MRI performed on Sunday in Boston revealed no structural damage. While the Sox have not set a recovery timetable for his return, manager John Farrell is not ready to say Lackey is heading to the DL.
“He’s improved,” Farrell told MLB.com’s Ian Browne and Jason Mastrodonato. “He’s still in a 48-to-72-hour recovery period. There’s no roster move to announce of any kind right now. The most encouraging thing is that following the MRI, it showed some inflammation in the biceps. That’s been it. He’s set for re-exam today. After we get that information, we’ll map out our plan of attack going forward.”
Lackey and Red Sox have a little wiggle room before making a decision. Boston has an off-day on Tuesday so they don’t need a fifth starter until Sunday, which would likely be Alfredo Aceves if Lackey isn’t ready to go. Boston won’t put lackey on the DL until they know for sure that he’s going to need a couple of weeks to recover.
Until then I continue to impose my will. John Lackey will be good this year.