Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/16/14
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

Celtics looking to make LeBron's life difficult in playoff series

WATCH: Luke Rockhold chokes out Lyoto Machida

WATCH: Masai Ujiri fires up Raptors fans with expletive

Andre Johnson: Signing with Colts not about revenge

Pete Rose joining FOX as baseball analyst

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Josh Hamilton filed for divorce around time of relapse

Isaiah Thomas once peed himself to avoid subbing out

Report: ESPN employees want Britt McHenry fired

WATCH: Raptors fans shower Paul Pierce with vulgar taunts

Report: Vikings want first-rounder, starting CB for Peterson

Jarret Stoll arrested for possession of drugs

Report: Todd Gurley's knee checks out well in evaluation

WATCH: All 286 3-pointers Steph Curry made this season

WATCH: Devan Dubnyk makes great save while leaving net

Sabres GM not happy about losing draft lottery

Yordano Ventura ejected for plunking Brett Lawrie

Five early takeaways from the 2015 MLB season

WATCH: Cubs fan catches foul ball in beer cup, chugs it

WATCH: Cardale Jones throws ball 74 yards during contest

Shaka Smart was quite popular at the Texas spring game

Ohio State sets spring game attendance record

WATCH: Bubba Watson raps on Christian rap track

WATCH: Jags mascot wins closest to pin at Sawgrass

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

Josh Hamilton filed for divorce from wife

Report: McHenry's coworkers want her fired

WATCH: Raptors fans taunt Paul Pierce

Five things to watch in NBA Playoffs

Jarret Stoll busted for drugs

CJ Wilson: Hamilton is 'ready to go'

Leaked Clippers jersey redesigns

Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase preview

Home runs ruined our ability to appreciate production

Why we love the NFL draft

The "worst" player on each NBA playoff team

Jim Harbaugh showed up at Ultimate Frisbee practice

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.