Lackey is currently slotted in as Boston’s fifth starter. It appears the team will take the pressure off him by keeping him slotted there as he rebuilds his arm strength. Currently it looks like a rotation of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront, and Lackey.
That setup allows manager John Farrell to break up the lefties in the rotation. In theory, Lackey will then go up against the opponents’ weaker pitchers, which could relieve more pressure and help rebuild his confidence.
“There are no restrictions on him,” Nieves said. “Even in bullpens. After the last time when he went four innings, I gave him the option of having an extra day. Instead of throwing a day after his start, I told him, ‘You have off Tuesday and Wednesday.’ He said, ‘No, no I want to work it out.’ ”
So there has been no shortage of cooperation. Lackey wants to be the pitcher he was in Anaheim, the big game guy, the guy you could trust to give you a solid outing every time.
In his three years in Boston, he has not been that.
And so it’s time for a second chance.