Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/6/13
Mlb-red-sox-tigers-may

John Lackey didn’t hear no bell. Perhaps drawing inspiration from everyone’s favorite fictional boxer, Rocky Balboa, Lackey is entering the 2013 season with the mindset that there’s still time to change the negative perception that most Red Sox fans have of him. “Pitching better and us winning will cure a lot of things,” Lackey told The Boston Globe down in Fort Myers. “This is a results business. I haven’t had good results. The fans want to see me pitch well.” Lackey’s lackluster tenure in Boston has not only been plagued by poor results and an injury that sidelined him for all of 2012, but it’s also been magnified because of the right-hander’s contract, which he inked as a free agent before the 2010 season. Some immediately criticized the Red Sox’ decision to give Lackey a five-year deal worth $82.5 million because the team appeared to have other areas of need at the time. Thus, at the first glance of the deal going south, Lackey was vilified as much for being overpaid as he was for underperforming. Things then really spiraled out of control, to the point where no one knows what to expect — or whether to expect anything — from Lackey in 2013. The 34-year-old has worked his way back to full health, though, and according to manager John Farrell, Lackey looks to be in great shape as the Red Sox get set to open up camp down in Fort Myers. The veteran hurler now knows it’s on him to show he’s still capable of being the same pitcher who won 19 games with the Angels in 2007. “I thought [Boston] would be good for me,” Lackey reportedly said. “I’m a guy who likes competing and showing some emotion and that is what they want. When I’m pitching well, I think it’ll be a good thing. And I’m going to pitch well. This thing isn’t over.” Lackey still has two years and more than $30 million remaining on his deal with the Sox, and that is likely a big reason the club is still holding out hope that he can bounce back. Another reason could be the genuine faith the organization and Lackey’s teammates have in him — something Rays skipper and former Angels bench coach Joe Maddon thinks is often overlooked or not believed to be true. “You won’t find a more popular guy among his teammates,” Maddon reportedly said. “He’s an enjoyable person to talk to and I know you don’t believe that. John just isn’t conscious of his public image and never has been. He grew up as a baseball player and he considers himself accountable to his teammates, not the fans. It can come off the wrong way.” Lackey’s body language on the mound is a big reason why there’s the perception that he tries to show his teammates up, but Maddon isn’t the first person to have shared a clubhouse with Lackey who thinks the pitcher is misunderstood. And the righty admitted that he’s trying to tone it down a bit when things don’t go his way. “It’s something that I’ve worked on and tried not to do, but sometimes it just happens,” Lackey told The Globe. “If I do something over the line, I absolutely go apologize. I’ll pull them aside and say something. I’m man enough to do that.” Lackey enters 2013 with a 26-23 record and a 5.26 ERA in 61 starts as a member of the Red Sox — clearly not $82.5 million worth of production. Despite all of the struggles and criticism he has received, though, Lackey has enjoyed his time in Boston. “The chance to win every year is still there,” Lackey reportedly  said. “It’s an ownership that cares and tries to field a winning team all the time. It’s a fan base that cares and wants to win all the time. I’m at a point in my career where I’m here to win. That’s really the only thing that is in play for me.” Winning does solve everything. And while Lackey has been knocked down — just like Balboa — he hasn’t been knocked out just yet. Perhaps 2013 is when the counterpunches start flying. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Kevin Love to meet with Lakers

Carli Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Auburn, Oregon to open 2019 season at AT&T Stadium

Butler can’t sign one-year contract unless it’s with Bulls

DeAndre Jordan wants 4-year deal, bigger offensive role

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kings reportedly looking into viability of firing Karl

Jim Brown: I ‘encourage and support’ Johnny Manziel

Vincent criticizes NFLPA over spending millions on lawsuits

MLB urges Supreme Court to deny San Jose's A's appeal

Jeanie Buss: Phil Jackson loves the Twitter criticism

Vikings RB McKinnon: If I had a fantasy team, I'd take myself

Report: Pelicans sign Davis to five-year, $145M extension

Jose Aldo out of UFC 189, replaced by Chad Mendes

Landon Donovan takes shot at Jurgen Klinsmann

Hope Solo admits to using stalling tactics on penalty kick

Scottie Pippen: ‘I was LeBron James before LeBron James’

Feud between Scioscia and Dipoto makes Angels fascinating case study

WATCH: Jim Harbaugh throws out first pitch at Tigers game

MLB’s All-Star roster will now announced be over two days

Blackhawks trade Brandon Saad to the Blue Jackets

Blatter won’t attend World Cup final due to ‘personal reasons’

Sharks have found their starting goalie by acquiring Jones

Fan who caught A-Rod’s 3,000th says he’s received threats

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Selecting the 2015 AL All-Stars

NBA Draft grades: Eastern Conference

Under the radar NBA free agents

Michael Sam, boyfriend broke up?

Mickelson linked to money laundering?

Reminiscing on 'Love & Basketball' 15 years later

Selecting the 2015 NL All-Stars

The Sixers' latest horde

Projected landing spots for NBA's top free agents

MLB changes format for Home Run Derby

Revis to work out with Patriots DBs

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.