Lackey 'wasn't surprised' by trade to Cardinals

Lackey 'wasn't surprised' by trade to Cardinals
August 5, 2014, 7:15 pm
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ST. LOUIS -- John Lackey has been gone from the Red Sox for less than a week, but already, his time in Boston feels like years and years ago.

In a brief interview session with Boston media in the home dugout at Busch Stadium, Lackey hardly seemed nostalgic about his 4 1/2 seasons in Boston.

There was little evidence of mixed emotions surrounding the trade that sent him to St. Louis last week in exchange for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly.

"Honestly, I'm focused on being here right now and trying to help this team win,'' said Lackey. "Where (the Red Sox) are is where they are. I'm not really part of that anymore.''

When told that he wasn't sounding very sentimental regarding his time in Boston, Lackey shrugged and said: "I don't know what you want me to say.''

Lackey revealed that the trade didn't exactly come out of the blue.

"Pretty excited, actually,'' said Lackey. "I wasn't really surprised. "

Honestly, this is as good a place for me to be right now, so I was pretty happy with where it happened, I guess. You could see it kind of heading in that direction, for sure. I'm happy to be here and happy with what happened. The way Ben (Cherington) handled it was first class. Everything was cool.''

When asked if he had been hoping for a trade, Lackey said: "I'm not going to go that far. I wasn't surprised.''

Before the Cardinals signed off on the deal with the Sox, they sought -- and received -- word from Lackey that he intended to honor his 2015 contract, which calls for him to play for the major league minimum, the result of having missed all of 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

"They definitely wanted a little assurance that I intended on playing next year,'' confirmed Lackey.

But Lackey wasn't ready to say the same had he remained in Boston.

"I don't know about that,'' he said. "I didn't get that far ahead to think about it at that point.''

Pressed as to why he had determined to pitch for the minimum in St. Louis but hadn't been ready to make the same commitment in Boston, Lackey turned slightly agitated.

"You guys are trying to stir stuff up,'' he said. "I didn't get that far.''

In recalling his time in Boston, Lackey termed his experience "definitely some ups and downs, for sure. Some fun and not some not-so-fun, I guess. I'll concentrate on last year and winning a championship and really enjoying that year and having fun with those guys.

''I have some great friends on that team that I left and obviously we had a great year last year. It was a ton of fun with that group of guys. But it's part of the game (to get traded).''

Lackey hugged Mike Napoli and chatted with some former teammates on the field.

"It's great to see some friends, for sure,'' said Lackey. "I talked to a couple of them yesterday on the phone. There's definitely some guys you miss, but that's kind of part of the deal.''

Unlike Kelly, for whom he was traded, Lackey won't have the experience of pitching against his former club. But if the scheduled dictated that, he wouldn't have minded.

"I would have been been OK pitching against the Red Sox, yeah,'' he said as a smile crossed his face. "I've already done it. I've already left one place and pitched against the Angels a few times. That would have been a little crazy, for sure, for it to be that quick. But I'm concentrating on getting outs and doing my thing.''

Lackey went from the last-place Red Sox to a Cardinals team that is in second-place in the N.L. Central by a game, and right in the middle of the wild card chase. He would savor a chance to win a third ring with a third organization.

"That's the only reason I'm still playing,'' he said. "I'm still playing to earn a ring. That's the only reason I'm still here. To be over here and have that opportunity, to make a playoff run, or try to get in the playoffs, is where I want to be.''

When he was asked if he looked forward to the opportunity to hit now that he's in the National League, he cracked: "I look forward to not facing a DH.''

He's been in contact with Jon Lester, dealt hours before him to Oakland and hinted that a World Series meeting between the A's and Cardinals would be fun for both.

"We've talked every other day, most of the time,'' he said. "We've already talked a little trash. Hopefully, I'll see him later on.''