Nelson Cruz had a huge night for the Baltimore Orioles in their 7-4 win over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night. Cruz went 5-for-5 including a homer, single and double of Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey. When Lackey was asked about Cruz’s performance after the game, he conveniently hinted at Cruz’s history of performance-enhancing drug use.
“I’m not going to comment on him,” Lackey said, via ESPN.com. “I’ve got nothing to say about him. There are some things I’d like to say, but I’m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.”
Nice try, John, but you already said plenty. Players who have never cheated have every right to feel bitter toward Cruz in the wake of his 50-game suspension last season. The 34-year-old slugger accepted his punishment and served the ban, but that doesn’t mean everyone is forced to forgive him.
That said, Lackey made himself look bad by pulling the “yeah, but he’s a cheater” card after Cruz teed off on him. Had Cruz gone 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against Lackey, we all know there would have been no mention of his involvement with Biogenesis.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter was later asked about Lackey’s comments on ESPN Radio’s “Mike Lupica Show.”
“There’s so many insinuations, quite frankly, about people in every club. You usually don’t hear those comments after a shutout or something,” Showalter said. I mean [Lackey's] doing really well. He’s up throwing 93, 95 again and he’s got one of the top ERAs in the American League, which with the DH means all of baseball. He’s a good pitcher, so God bless him. He was good yesterday.”
Lackey has always been outspoken about PED use. Last year, he said Alex Rodriguez should not be allowed to play while he appealed his 211-game suspension. This time around, Lackey’s comments just reeked of sour grapes.