Red Sox Lackey ready 'to get going'


Red Sox Lackey ready 'to get going'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- John Lackey's not one forpronouncements.So as he begins his fourth season in a Red Sox uniform, he's not declaring this a makeover, or a comeback, or anything of the sort.
It doesn't seem to matter that Lackey isnoticeablytrimmer -- manager John Farrell said the pitcher's lost 17 pounds, but it looks as though it may be twice that -- and has a surgically-repaired elbow, the result of Tommy John surgery some 18 months ago.
But he'll let others declare this is a new beginning. Lackey just wants the baseball in his hand and his regular turn in the Red Sox starting rotation.
"I worked pretty hard," shrugged Lackey of his new physique. "I wanted to be ready when I got to camp. I put in a lot of work last year and I just wanted to give myself the best chance possible to perform well."
Lackey said he feels great, but is taking nothing for granted with Opening Day some six weeks away. There's plenty of work still to be done if he's going to make his first start since the infamous final week of the 2011 season, when the Red Sox crashed out of a playoff spot, setting the stage for some post-season revelations that featured a major league team sometimes behaving like college kids on spring break.
As far as he's come, Lackey knows his journey isn't complete. He's yet, for example, to throw any breaking pitches off a mound, something that he'll soon attempt.
"I've spun some breaking balls on flat ground," he said, "or playing catch. I just haven't thrown in downhill yet. I threw some breaking balls in (in the Instructional League) at the end of the last year, so I'm not concerned about that."
For now, Lackey takes comfort in the fact that his right arm, which pained him for most of 2011 as he pitched throw the elbow injury, is pain-free.
"It's nice for it not to hurt, to be honest with you," he said. "I definitely feel like I took a few years off, I guess."
Lackey wants no bonus points for pitching while injured and won't detail how long the elbow had been throbbing before hesuccumbedto the inevitable procedure a month or so after the conclusion of the season.
"It had been a little while," is all he would say when asked the question Thursday.
When he's asked about motivation, or about "making up" for a disappointing start to his Red Sox career -- a 4.40 ERA in 2010, and then a disastrous 6.41 ERA, the highest of any starter in the game, in 2011 -- he shows his defensive side briefly.
"Well, I was pitching with a blown-out elbow," he said. "Most of my years in the big leagues, I've been OK. If I'm healthy, I'll be just fine."
Nor is Lackey interested in talking about his suspicion that he was given bad information about the condition of his elbow in 2011.
"I'm not going to get into that," he said flatly.
Now that he's healthy, Lackey believes he can return to being the workhorse he was before the elbow issues derailed him. From 2003 through 2010, Lackey threw 198 or more innings six times in the span of eight seasons.
"I don't see why not," he said. "I wasn't feeling real great my first year here (2010) and I still threw (215) innings. I definitely thought I got myself in trouble my last year (2011), trying to go out and do some things I probably shouldn't have been."
There's no denying the sense of optimism he carries regarding 2013.
"I feel like it's my one of my first years in the big leagues again," he said. "I just want to get going."
And, left unstated, a chance to get away from the recent past.

Price on his return to Red Sox: ’There’s not a better feeling’

Price on his return to Red Sox: ’There’s not a better feeling’

BOSTON — Red Sox left-hander David Price is set to make his season debut in a holiday matinee Monday on the road in Chicago against the White Sox. 

Price, 31, starting the second season of a $217 million, seven-year contract, has been recovering from a strained pitching elbow since spring training.

“Excited, just to be back here,” he said Thursday. “There’s not a better feeling. You can’t replicate it anywhere else.”

Price allowed nine runs — six earned — and 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings in a pair of less-than-impressive injury rehabilitation starts at Triple-A Pawtucket. He struck out eight and walked two.

“A lot of pitches, in a short amount of time. I think that is more of a test to being healthy as opposed to going out there and throwing five or six [innings] in 90 pitches,” he said. “To do what I did in both of my rehab outings, I don’t think you can do that if you’re not healthy.”

The Red Sox (24-21) have won four in a row heading into their weekend series against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.

“He’s eager to get back to us and physically he feels great,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “His return to us will give us a definite boost but that’s not to de-emphasize he needs to go out and perform.”

Farrell hopes Price’s return has a trickle-down impact.

“It’s not based solely on the name on the back of his jersey,” Farrell said. “Hopefully it allows us to even out some of the performances within the rotation.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press.

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

BOSTON -- New York’s mistake helped the Red Sox, and they weren’t playing the Yankees.

The Red Sox struck out 20 in a game for the third time in franchise history on Thursday night, and they were able to do so only after MLB’s replay team — based in Manhattan — gave Craig Kimbrel an extra batter to strike out in the ninth inning.

A 6-2 win over the Rangers featured 16 strikeouts for Red Sox pitching heading into the top of the ninth at Fenway Park. Kimbrel came on for a non-save situation because he had five days off previously.

There’s always that outside chance for a four-strikeout inning, and it happened. Even for a four-strikeout inning, however, this was bizarre.

The first batter, left-handed hitting Nomar Mazara, swung and missed at a back-foot breaking ball for strike three — a literal back-foot breaking ball, because it hit him in that foot after he whiffed on the pitch.

On a swing and a miss with a pitch that hits the batter, the ball should be dead. He should not have been able to reach first base. But the umpires didn’t catch the ball hitting Mazara, and instead saw it as a wild pitch. 

Sox manager John Farrell asked for a review and the umpires went for one, but came back empty-handed. The crew was told, erroneously, that the play could not be looked at and the batter was awarded first base.

“It was just a swinging strike three, ball that go away and he obviously reached first base,” crew chief Alfonso Marquez told pool reporter Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “The only thing that I can tell you, and the only thing I will say is, this was a replay issue. New York will come out with a statement.”

You could say it worked out just fine. Kimbrel went on to strike out the next three, and got the Sox to 20 Ks.

Kimbrel and Tim Wakefield are the only Red Sox pitchers to fan four batters in a single inning. Wakefield did it in the ninth inning on Aug. 10, 1999. 

Kimbrel did it once before as well, when he was with the Braves on Sept. 26, 2012.

No one has struck out five in a major league inning, although Kimbrel has as good a chance as anyone.

“The guy strikes out the world,” Matt Barnes said. “It’s ridiculous. … His fastball is seemingly unhittable. Complement that with the breaking ball he’s got, which comes right off that same plane, when he’s commanding it like he is, the numbers kind of speak for themselves. It’s kind of ridiculous. It’s fun to watch.”

The Sox have struck out 20 in a nine-inning game three times since 1913. Roger Clemens' two 20-strikeout games are the other two.