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John Lackey on Josh Beckett: ‘It had gone too far here for him’

08.27.12 at 4:06 am ET
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In some ways, John Lackey and Josh Beckett walked side-by-side for the past year or so, serving as two main targets for some who sought out blame for the Red Sox‘ recent chaos.

The two Texans became friends over two-plus seasons together, with their bout with controversy only strengthening the bond. That was the exact reason that when Beckett was traded to the Dodgers Saturday, Lackey said he was content in seeing his rotation-mate move on.

“Honestly, I was happy for him,” Lackey said. “It had gone too far here for him. I don’t think it would have ever come back.”

Then, when asked if he believed Beckett embraced the move out of town, Lackey paused before saying, “Yeah. … It’s unfortunate, but talking to a couple of guys around here it’s not the first time it’s happened here.”

With Beckett now with the Dodgers — getting his first start for Los Angeles Monday night against the Rockies — Lackey wanted to pass on how he believed his former teammate should have been viewed. Despite different pictures being painted, it’s an image the Red Sox’ righty describes with conviction.

“It’s baffling to me people write things that don’t even know the man,” Lackey said. “Guys write stuff who don’t know Josh. He’s a good guy. It’s too bad that it came to that. They write about the Beckett Bowl (charity event), that we were partying and stuff, but they raised $300,000 for Children’s Hospital that night. Throw something in there positive.”

Lackey also touched on the debate regarding how Beckett affected the rest of the starting rotation. The former Sox hurler was long thought to be the leader of the staff, but had come under some criticism once the stories of last September surfaced.

Lackey said the pitcher he saw lined up with what the Red Sox believed they were getting when Beckett signed his four-year extension prior to the 2010 season.

“There were definitely times young guys went to talk to him about things,” he said. “People didn’t see that sort of stuff. He was a good influence.”

While Lackey admitted that Beckett had reached the point of no return when it came to pitching in Boston, the injured starter believes that he can still function as a member of the Sox’ starting rotation despite any lingering negative perception.

Lackey continues to progress from Tommy John surgery, figuring to see came action in the not too distant future.

“I miss pitching. I miss competing. I can’t wait to pitch without some pain. It should be fun,” he said. “I think I can pitch and not worry about the other stuff. I’m comfortable with the guys in this room and that’s what’s important.”

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