Back in 1999, Red?Sox pitching coach John Farrell gave hurler John Lackey a pitch of his own, trying to recruit the junior college righty to Oklahoma State.
How successful was it? Not only did Lackey bypass Division I college for the pros, he said he couldn’t even remember how Farrell tried to sell him.
“He probably doesn’t remember me,” Farrell said Thursday, before the annual Boston Baseball Writers Dinner at the Westin Waterfront Hotel. “I think I was chasing somebody upstream. He was long past the thought of going on to school, rather than signing a pro contract.”
Eleven years later, Farrell finally got his man. The Red Sox signed Lackey to a five-year, $82.5 million free agent contract last month, reuniting the pitcher and pitching coach. This time around, both men will do the talking and listening, as the 32-year-old veteran and coach build a new relationship.
“My first and foremost obligation to him is to get to know him,” Farrell said. “To listen to him, to find out what works well for him, and then be a set of eyes for him, to provide him with feedback. I’ve already had a chance to watch video of him, to become familiar with his delivery. The added depth to that will be his feedback and what checkpoints are critical to him, and then to provide feedback.”
The pair talked Thursday and will meet again Friday to begin the mutual learning process.
“I’m always open to new ideas,” Lackey said. “But by this point in your career, you have to know yourself and kind of be your own best pitching coach, because when you get in trouble on the mound, if you can’t fix it quick, by the time he gets out there, it might already be done.”
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