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John Lackey on D&C: Josh Beckett in 2010 ‘just wasn’t healthy ever’

02.21.11 at 9:31 am ET
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Red Sox pitcher John Lackey sat down with Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning from spring training in Fort Myers, Fla. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Having been the newcomer to the clubhouse last year, Lackey was asked what Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford should expect. “It’s going to be different for them, for sure,” he said. “Especially Adrian, coming from San Diego, it’s a little more laid-back out there. It’s going to be a little more intense around here. But they’ll learn to enjoy it. Carl knows a little bit about it, playing in this division. He’s been to Fenway a bunch, so I think he’ll be pretty comfortable.”

Lackey said pitchers are “definitely more apt to make a mistake” when Crawford is on the basepaths, so he’s pleased that he doesn’t have to worry about that any more. And he wasn’t the only Red Sox pitcher celebrating Crawford’s arrival in Boston. “I was pretty fired up about it, for sure,” Lackey said of hearing about the signing. “I think I found out from [Jon] Lester, actually. He texted me, ‘We don’t have to face Carl any more.’ It was pretty cool.”

Lackey, who noted he worked out with a new trainer in the offseason ‘€” a Los Angeles fire captain ‘€” and lost 10-15 pounds by doing more cardio work, said his problems on the mound last season weren’t due to any off-field adjustments. “I think more the AL East, just better teams, was the main thing,” he said. “I don’t think the transition was a huge deal. I’ve played in a bunch of pressure games. I don’t think that affects me any.”

Looking at his first-half struggles, Lackey said: “I was trying to maybe sink the ball a little bit too much early on in the season, trying to get grounds balls, trying to be too much contact-friendly. Later on in the year, I went back to throwing some four-seamers, and hard breaking balls, and started getting some strikeouts and started making things a little bit easier on myself.”

Added Lackey: “Maybe a little bit of the ballpark might have had something to do with it, but it was definitely something that I didn’t like, so I went back to the way I’d been in the past and it worked out a lot better.”

Speaking about his Red Sox teammates, he said: “I’ve only been here a year, and I’ve got some lifelong friends in that clubhouse already. It’s a great group of guys and [signing with Boston is] something I haven’t regretted at all.”

One of those friends is Josh Beckett, who had a down year in 2010. “He just wasn’t healthy ever,” Lackey said. “Josh Beckett healthy doesn’t pitch like that. That’s the bottom line.”

Read More: adrian gonzalez, carl crawford, john lackey, Jon Lester
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