BOSTON (CBS) – The theme for the 2013 Red Sox is a team looking for a fresh start.

No one is looking for a new beginning more than John Lackey, who is coming back after missing all of 2012 following Tommy John surgery.

The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham caught up with Lackey down in Fort Myers, as the pitcher is one of the many Red Sox to report to Spring Training early. Abraham says Lackey looks to be in great shape and ready to go in 2013.

“He does look very good; the best he’s looked since he signed with the Red Sox,” Abraham told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday. “It looks like he’s throwing pretty well too. For a guy coming off Tommy John surgery he didn’t look that way.”

“He’s got a chance to turn things around given how things started for him,” said Abraham. “It’s hard to tell until you see him throw in games, but this is a guy who before the Red Sox signed him was one of the best starters in the American League for a pretty long stretch, and an important part of a very good Angels team for a long time.”

“I’m not going to say he’ll win 20 games and be an All Star, but I think he can win 15 games and give the Red Sox 175-180 innings,” Abraham said of Lackey’s potential ceiling for 2013.

Lackey hasn’t had a great relationship with the media in his first three years in Boston, and that in turn trickles down to how fans view the boisterous pitcher. But Abraham says a strong outing his first time back at Fenway could change that.

“As for how fans will feel about him, if he pitches well in his first game in Fenway he’s going to get a standing ovation. Fans are very fickle, and if he pitches well fans will be applauding him. That’s just the way things are.”

Will Lackey approach the media differently in 2013? And what will the Red Sox starting rotation look like? Find out as The Globe’s Peter Abraham joins Toucher & Rich:


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