Lackey to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Lackey to undergo Tommy John surgery

BOSTON -- Forty-five minutes into his introductory press conference, new general manager Ben Cherington announced something that probably got him off on the right foot with most Red Sox fans:

John Lackey won't be pitching in Boston in 2012.

He'll probably be back in 2013 and beyond, though.

Cherington said Lackey, who's been bothered by elbow problems for the last several years and spent time on the disabled list last season, will undergo Tommy John surgery and will be sidelined for 12-18 months.

"Let me start by saying that John Lackey pitched through circumstances this year that I don't think any of us in this room can fully understand," said Cherington, referring to both Lackey's elbow problems and personal issues with his marriage (his wife underwent breast-cancer surgery last offseason, and he filed for divorce in August). "And he got beat up publicly for it a little bit along the way. This guy was dealing with some stuff, both on the field and off the field, that were really difficult. I thought he showed tremendous toughness pitching through that."

While he pitched well in stretches, Lackey finished with a 12-12 record and a 6.41 ERA.

"I talked to him the other day and he's really excited about the future," said Cherington, adding that Lackey "knows that he's a much better pitcher than what he showed in 2011.

"I believe he'll come back from surgery as a much better pitcher than what he showed in 2011. We'll look forward to having him as part of the staff, most likely in 2013."

Cherington said Lackey consulted with Red Sox team doctors as well as elbow specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum after a season of pitching through pain, and eventually decided to go ahead with the surgery. Dr. Yocum is expected to perform the surgery, according to Cherington.

There is language in Lackey's contract that could enable the Sox to realize nearly 3 million a year in luxury-tax relief if the right-hander misses a season due to elbow problems. The clause triggers a sixth season in Lackey's contract for the major-league minimum salary, which is currently 414,000. That would reduce the annual value of Lackey's deal from 16.5 million to approximately 13.8 million.

Cherington told CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam it's a possibility that this surgery may trigger that clause, but that will be determined at some point in the future.

Shaughnessy: Red Sox have a chance to flip this around

Shaughnessy: Red Sox have a chance to flip this around

Mike Felger and Dan Shaughnessy discuss the Boston Red Sox bouncing back from their slump with a win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Quotes, notes and stars: Fourth inning 'a grind' for Porcello

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Quotes, notes and stars: Fourth inning 'a grind' for Porcello

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 8-2 win over Tampa Bay

 

QUOTES

"I can't say enough about the way our position players have continued to grind away. . . Tonight was just another example of that.'' - John Farrell.

"He's been everything that we could have hoped. You look to a starting pitcher to go out and be consistent every fifth day -- he's been a model of that for us.'' - Farrell on Rick Porcello.

"It's nice to come back with a statement game tonight. The past couple of week haven't been good for us, so it was nice to get back on the right track tonight.'' - Travis Shaw.

"Preventing them from scoring first was big and then limiting the big inning. The fourth inning was a grind. I dug myself a hole and had to find a way out of it.'' - Rick Porcello.

 

NOTES

* Rick Porcello became the first Red Sox starter to record a win since David Price beat Seattle on Jume 19.

* Porcello is unbeaten over his last eight starts, going 3-0 with five no-decisions.

* Porcello had gone 19 straight starts without allowing more than two walks, the longest such streak for a Red Sox starter since Curt Schilling went 33 in a row.

* The Red Sox snapped a three-game losing streak and are one of two teams (Cleveland is the other) to not have lost four straight this season.

* Boston has a major league-leading 22 games in which it has scored eight or more runs.

* The first six hitters in the Red Sox lineup were 11-for-24, while the bottom three were a combined 0-for-13.

* Travis Shaw's home run was measured at 449 feet, the second-longest homer by a Red Sox player this season.

* In one night, Travis Shaw had more RBI (five) than he had in his previous 27 games (four).

* David Ortiz tied Frank Thomas in career RBI (1,704); both are in 23rd place.

 

STARS

1) Travis Shaw

Shaw belted out three hits -- including his first homer in the month of June -- and knocked in five RBI, tying a career high.

2) Rick Porcello

In a perfect world, Porcello would have gone a little deeper, but kept the Rays off the scoreboard early and helped set the tone for the night.

3) Hanley Ramirez

Ramirez reached base five times with two hits -- both singles -- and three walks - one intentional - and seemed to be in the middle of every Red Sox rally.