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Lester: Re-sign Beckett

02.19.10 at 3:25 pm ET

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jon Lester expressed his support and desire on Friday to see Josh Beckett signed to a long-term deal by the Red Sox.

“I think it would be a huge loss for this organization for him not to come back, obviously, on the field, a lot, too,” Lester said. “But definitely in the clubhouse would be a guy missed in there.”

Beckett is in the final year of his four-year contract with the Red Sox, earning $12 million in 2010. Lester played catch with Beckett and John Lackey and then all three took part in conditioning drills for pitchers and catchers at the team’s minor league complex.

Skipper Terry Francona said the team is fully aware of the importance of having Beckett as the leader of the pitching staff as he enters his fifth season in Boston.

“Beckett is important to a lot of people in there,” added manager Terry Francona. “We let him know that today. He is the leader of that staff. He’s earned that respect and there’s a lot that comes with it. People look up to him. I think he’s proud of that. He should be.”

Francona was then asked if he had any fears that Beckett would be in the least distracted by his contract situation.

“Zero, zero,” Francona said. “I just know how he approaches things. I know how Theo [Epstein] approaches things. I’ve heard their communication and it’s not a concern.”

For video highlights from Lester’s press conference, including discussions of his own health and the reason why he has no regrets about signing a six-year, $30 million deal even after watching Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander sign much more sizable pacts this offseason, click here.

Read More: Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Red Sox,
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