John Lackey hasn't pitched for the Red Sox in nearly 18 months. When he finally took the mound again on Saturday, it wasn't entirely clear that it was the same John Lackey.
The righty has shed some serious poundage, but it wasn't just the physical difference that struck observers. Known for his short temper and surly demeanor, Lackey on Saturday was... endearing? Jovial?
"It's clear that the John Lackey makeover does not get limited by the weight loss and the surgically repaired elbow," said Sean McAdam. "I think he got a personality transplant somewhere along the way… just not what we're used to seeing from John Lackey. He really seemed to enjoy the process today and that's something we didn't see form John Lackey's first two seasons."
The results didn't matter on Saturday. It was the first outing of spring training, and his first outing in more than a season so this was more about regaining comfort. Lackey's velocity wasn't great, settling in the high 80s, but he did battle out of some trouble and looked to regain some comfort on the mound.
For more on Lackey's performance, and his transformation, check out the video above.