Cherington: Sox will be patient with Lackey

Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington says he is expecting a healthy, productive 2013 from John Lackey, who has started his normal offseason work after recovering from the Tommy John elbow surgery that wiped out his 2012 season.

“He’s going into spring training as a healthy starting pitcher,” Cherington said in an Thursday morning interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI. “We’ve seen in the past guys coming off that surgery where it can take a little time to not just get back on the mound but get sharp again.”

Cherington pointed to St. Louis Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright as an example of a pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery who struggled out of the gate but hit his stride as the season went on. In his first 16 starts of the 2012 season, Wainwright was 6-8 with a 4.75 ERA. In his final 16 starts, he was 8-5 with a 3.18 ERA.

“My expectation is we’ll see a very good version of John Lackey in 2013,” Cherington said. “But it can take some time to not just get back on the mound pitching in games but to get back to being sharp again.”