Boston Red Sox starter John Lackey will be sidelined for more than a year and miss the entire 2012 season because of reconstructive elbow surgery, the club’s new general manager Ben Cherington said on Tuesday. Right-hander Lackey went 12-12 with a 6.41 ERA in 28 starts this season and has been advised to have Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow. “(Lackey) had, as most of you know, some intermittent elbow soreness throughout the season,” Cherington said during a news conference while being introduced as the Red Sox general manager. “We decided — he decided — it’d be a good idea after this season to get that checked again. And after more consultation (with doctors), John has decided to go ahead with Tommy John surgery. “He’s really excited about the future, certainly anxious about the surgery, getting that done and rehabbing.” Lackey, a World Series champion with the Anaheim Angels in 2002 and an All Star in 2007, has just completed his second season in a five-year, US$82.5 million deal with Boston. In 160 innings, he gave up 203 hits and 20 home runs while also hitting a Major League-high 19 batters. “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. “This guy was dealing with some stuff both on the field and off the field that were really difficult, and I thought he showed tremendous toughness pitching through that.” Lackey’s wife, Krista Lackey, was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and he was one of three Boston pitchers criticised by the fans this season for allegedly drinking beer during games on days when they were not playing. “I believe he’s going to be a much better pitcher than what he showed in 2011,” said Cherington, who has replaced Theo Epstein as Red Sox general manager.
“We look forward to having him as part of the staff likely in 2013.” Tommy John surgery is named after a former Major League pitcher who was the first professional athlete to successfully undergo the operation in 1974.