Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/7/13
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John Lackey missed all of 2012, but he’s confident that 2013 will be a big bounce-back year. That confidence is apparently contagious, as Lackey’s manager and teammates have also had nothing but good things to say about the right-hander as he gets set to try and silence his critics. Clay Buchholz spoke down in Fort Myers about a number of topics, including his health, the arrival of skipper John Farrell and Jon Lester‘s quest to regain his top-of-the-rotation form. Buchholz also touched on Lackey, and he’s among the teammates feeling good about Lackey’s progress. “Lack’s been doing it for a long time. He was pitching broke the first couple years he was here with us. Even his last year in Anaheim, he was told that he should probably have surgery and he didn’t do it,” Buchholz said. “That shows you what kind of competitor he is. He goes out there and gives it 110 percent all he’s got every time.” Buchholz doesn’t just think Lackey will stay healthy or that his teammate will be a valuable contributor. Instead, he predicts we’ll see a guy who can serve as an anchor in Boston’s rotation. “I said it at the end of last year, whenever he was rehabbing and starting to throw and everything, I think at some point John Lackey’s going to be named the ace of our staff. That’s my call this year,” Buchholz said. Most Red Sox fans would probably be happy if Lackey just provided some quality innings, as it’s something he has struggled to do since joining the Red Sox prior to the 2010 season. Becoming an ace certainly wouldn’t hurt Boston’s cause either, though. Click here to see a slimmed down John Lackey >> Click here to read Lackey’s comments about this season >> Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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