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John Lackey's Tommy John surgery: Tough start for Boston's new GM

October 26, 2011 |  9:44 am

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Ben Cherington had just been introduced as the general manager of the Boston Red Sox when he had to do his first tough job in his new role -- inform fans that John Lackey needs Tommy John surgery.

The former Angels pitcher is expected to miss all of the 2012 season after the reconstructive surgery on his throwing elbow.

“He had, as most of you know, some intermittent elbow soreness throughout the season,” Cherington said of Lackey, who went 12-12 with a 6.41 ERA in 28 starts this season.  “We decided -- he decided -- it'd be a good idea after this season to get that checked again.... After more consultation [with doctors], John has decided to go ahead with Tommy John surgery."

But, Cherington added, "he's really excited about the future, certainly anxious about the surgery, getting that done and rehabbing. But he knows he's a much better pitcher than what he showed in 2011 and I believe he's going to be a much better pitcher than what he showed in 2011."

Lackey had some off-field issues as well, the worst by far being his wife's diagnosis of breast cancer earlier this year. He also was one of three Red Sox pitchers accused in a Boston Globe report of drinking beer, eating fried chicken and playing video games in the clubhouse during a game in which they were not pitching. All three pitchers have denied the report.

"John Lackey pitched through circumstances this year that I don't think any of us in this room can fully understand, and he got beat up for it a little bit along the way," Cherington said. "This guy was dealing with some stuff both on the field and off the field that were really difficult, and I thought he showed tremendous toughness pitching through that."

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-- Chuck Schilken

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Ben Cherington. Credit: Jim Rogash / Getty Images

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