Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
John Lackey took to the mound yesterday again Team Puerto Rico and didn't disappoint. In fact, some are claiming that we are witnessing the Lackey from his Angel days.
It’s been almost 18 months since John Lackey has faced a big league
lineup. And, while he has two previous springs training starts on the
books, early spring lineups aren’t usually representative of big league
lineups. Tuesday night, though, Team Puerto Rico gave Lackey a legitimate challenge. One he rose to. “Lackey was outstanding,” said one scout in attendance. “He looks like the old Lackey.” Lackey,
who was not involved in the decision, as the Sox won, 4-3, went three
scoreless innings, giving up three hits and no walks with two strikeouts
in an exhibition, as Puerto Rico prepares for its first World Baseball
Classic game, Friday against Spain in San Juan. Puerto Rico’s lineup
featured several major leaguers including Angel Pagan, Irving Falu, Alex
Rios, Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina, and former Sox shortstop Mike
Aviles.“I felt really good tonight,” Lackey said. “It was a
really good day in the process. I feel like my arm strength’s getting
better. Feel’s getting better each time out. So, happy with the
direction we’re going.
CSNNE.com: Lackey impressive in three shutout innings for Sox
Lackey was not opposing non-roster invites at the plate yesterday. These were established MLB veterans in Aviles, Beltran, Molina, Rios, and Pagan. He was up to that challenge, seeing that he cranked his velocity up to 92 mph (a spring training high for Lackey).
I know it's early, but we may be looking at one of the better stories of the 2013 Red Sox developing right in front of our eyes.
It began with Lackey showing up in miraculous shape, turning many heads. Right out of the gate, he had displayed improved control and command of his pitches. Now, it's translating to games versus legit major leaguers.
Red Sox nation despised Lackey for his beer-drinking, out-of-shape, horrid performances and antics on the mound during his first few seasons in Boston. With his turnaround and his "wake up moment", Lackey could develop into a fan favorite.
I know it's only Spring Training, but Lackey really does look like his old self. That's not the Red Sox marketing department pumping up this season either. That's coming from many scouts and reporters.
Call me crazy, but if Lackey continues this upward trend, he may be the Red Sox second best starter over Buchholz.
Rest of the Links: Globe: Andrew Miller cuts down hitter but doesn’t cut his hair | Globe: Jackie Bradley Jr. catching fly balls, eyeballs | Herald: Trivia answer: Mike Aviles | Herald: John Lackey gets real | ESPNBoston.com: Sox safely under luxury tax threshold | ESPNBoston.com: Farrell: No rush to get Ortiz in lineup