Boston Red Sox pitcher John Lackey will miss the 2012 MLB season as he is due to have major reconstructive surgery on his right pitching elbow, revealed the franchise’s new general manager Ben Cherington.
Lackey endured a tough year for the Red Sox, finishing the season 12-12 with a 6.41 earned run average as he completed the second year of a five-year, $82.5 million deal.
Cherington said the “Tommy John” ligament reconstruction procedure would likely be performed by orthopedist Lewis Yocum, but he did not know when.
Lackey had an MRI in May or June after experiencing soreness in the elbow, and had another one after the season ended, he said.
“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 of Lackey, who late in the season filed for divorce from his wife, who has breast cancer.
“This guy was dealing with some stuff both on the field and off the field that were really difficult,” Cherington said. “I thought he showed tremendous toughness pitching through that.”
Lackey will be the third Red Sox pitcher to undergo the operation this year. Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka of Japan had it on June 10, one day after lefty reliever Rich Hill had the operation.
Matsuzaka could be ready to pitch by the middle of next season, the last of his $52 million contract.
The Red Sox also paid $51.1 million to his team in Japan, the Seibu Lions, just for the right to sign him.
Cherington said Matsuzaka is at Boston’s spring training facility in Florida.
“He’s throwing,” Cherington said. “He’s in really good shape, looking forward to next year. He’ll have a chance to pitch for us again next year, but not on opening day, but certainly at some point.”