Red Sox pitching legend Jim Lonborg joined Sports Saturday on WEEI at the Red Sox team store and talked about the hot-button issue that is interleague play in modern baseball. While others talk about their dislike for it, Lonborg said he actually enjoys the AL-NL matchups.
"I absolutely love it now. I wasn't a big fan of it in the beginning. But I think in terms of getting to know some of the other ballplayers that are playing professionally and have great skills, I think it's a great opportunity for people who love baseball to be able to see the other talent in the other league."
That being said, Lonborg, who pitched in Boston from 1965-71 before the designated hitter rule came in to effect in 1973, said he's not particularly enthused about the DH's role in the modern game.
"I'm not a big fan of the DH," Lonborg said. "Being able to have played in the American League into the early 70's then going to the National League and always have pitchers hit, I just thought there was a lot to think about managing a ballgame, managing players. I think there was lot more for fans to watch and figure out the moves you would make over the course of a game. But it's the way it is. Just try to enjoy the DH."
Hosts John Ryder and Kirk Minihane also asked the former Cy Young winner to address what is behind the struggles of John Lackey, whose 7.36 ERA is the highest among AL pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched.
"Well, I've tried to figure out what's happening with him," Lonborg said. "I know that personally he has a lot going on in his life. I have a feeling that distracts from any professional. I don't think anybody can walk away from a situation like his with a clear head. But I think he's doing the best he can. I just hope he's healthy. I think that when you get the kind of contract that he got and yet he's a pitcher - and pitchers are susceptible to all sorts of injuries - that you make that kind of money and you get an injury, it looks worse than if you weren't making big money and got an injury."