Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/5/13
If the Red Sox are to contend in 2013, just having some of their pitchers healthy and contributing would go a long way. A big theme of Boston’s 2012 campaign was pitchers of whom big things were expected but didn’t didn’t make good on that promise. In a lot of ways, the Red Sox’ campaign was derailed by bizarre maladies to its pitching staff. Whether it be Daisuke Matsuzaka‘s inability to keep opposing teams in the ballpark or Scott Atchison‘s unidentified elbow issues, problems just kept plaguing Red Sox pitching. However, there are three cases, in particular, who really stand out heading into 2013 — and coincidentally they were photographed throwing together on Tuesday in Fort Myers. First there was John Lackey, who went down for the season to Tommy John surgery before the year even began. Although he’s never lived up to his contract in Boston, he was an ace-caliber pitcher (and World Series Game 7 winner) in Los Angeles (of Anaheim) for years. So if Lackey can come back strong with a new elbow ligament, it would help stabilize the rotation. Daniel Bard‘s problems first surfaced at the end of the 2011 campaign, mirroring Boston’s late-season collapse with his own personal crisis. Upon transitioning from the bullpen to the rotation for 2012, Bard’s control issues developed into full-blown Steve Blass disease, with Bard doing his best Rick Vaughn (before he got the glasses) impression. Nonetheless, if Bard can find the strike zone in 2013, it could give Boston one of the deepest bullpens in baseball. Third, there’s Jon Lester, whose 2012 troubles still remain unidentified. While Lester suffered no physical or psychological ailments that we know about, his ineffectiveness was a big part of the Red Sox’ inability to win consistently last year. However, he’s been an ace-like pitcher in the past, and Boston’s counting on the lefty to lead their rotation in 2013. So of those pitchers who struggled in 2012, who’s primed for a comeback? Who will help the Red Sox most during the 2013 season? Take Our Poll Photo via Twitter/Peter Abraham

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

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