ST. LOUIS -- Five days after the Boston Red Sox traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals, John Lackey said he already is focused on what he can do to help his new team and not reflecting back on his years with the Red Sox.
A fluke of the schedule brought the Red Sox to St. Louis to open a three-game series on Tuesday night, reuniting Lackey and catcher A.J. Pierzynski with their former teammates.
“It’s good to see some friends for sure,” Lackey said. “I talked to some of them yesterday. They will be missed, but it’s part of the deal. Just seeing the guys on the team is the main thing, catching up with some buddies.
“I’m happy to be here and happy with where it happened.”
Lackey said he “would not go that far” when asked if he spent his final weeks in Boston hoping to be traded, considering the Red Sox's fall from World Series champs to last place in the AL East.
“Honestly I’m focused on being here right now and trying to help this team win,” Lackey said. “They (the Red Sox) are where they are right now.”
Lackey made his Cardinals debut on Sunday, holding the Milwaukee Brewers to two runs in seven innings in a 3-2 victory that moved St. Louis within one game of the NL Central lead.
Red Sox manager John Farrell was able to watch the game on television because his team did not play until Sunday night.
“It was much like he did for us a number of years,” Farrell said. “He pitched a heck of a game, deep into the game. People in St. Louis are going to know that he loves to compete and doesn’t want to come out of games.”
Lackey said it would not have been a big deal to him had his first start for the Cardinals come against the Red Sox, noting that he pitched against the Angels, another former team, after he signed with Boston as a free agent. The bigger factor was not wanting to have to wait two additional days between starts, which Farrell noted as well.
“You don’t want to get too far away from that fifth day,” Farrell said. “It just happened it fell before we got here.”
Before the trade was completed, the Cardinals sought assurances from Lackey that he intended to honor the clause in his contract that calls for him to make the major-league minimum of $500,000 next year.
That subject did not come up with the Red Sox, Lackey said, adding that he would not have been ready to make that decision had he been asked.
“I didn’t get that far ahead to think about it,” he said. “We hadn’t talked about anything like that (with the Red Sox).”
If Lackey is able to help pitch the Cardinals into their third World Series in four years, he could find former teammate and close friend Jon Lester waiting for him with his new team, the Oakland A’s.
“We talk almost every other day and we’ve been talking trash,” Lackey said. “Hopefully it works out. We’ll see.”
As for Pierzynski, the veteran catcher, who was designated for assignment by the Red Sox last month, said he had no hard feelings.
“I don't know if I saw it coming but I know how this game works,” he told reporters. “It's a business and that's fine. I didn't really ask for a reason; they didn't really give me one. That's it. Didn't really talk about it; just thanked them for the opportunity and that was it.”
Pierzynski said his time in Boston was positive. “I loved Boston. I loved the city. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the heck out of it. Living in Boston was great. I know everyone expects me to be bitter, to be mad. I'm not, I'm really not.”