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Clay Buchholz: Jon Lester should be Red Sox Opening Day starter

02.19.13 at 2:09 pm ET

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Unlike two years ago, when then-Red Sox manager Terry Francona informed Jon Lester during the offseason he would the team’s Opening Day starter, current Sox manager John Farrell has not identified his starting pitcher for the Sox’ season-opener April 1 at Yankee Stadium.

One of two two candidates for the honor, Clay Buchholz, had no hesitation when talking about the subject.

“Jonny Lester should be the guy,” Buchholz told WEEI.com after the team’s Tuesday workout. “He’s been the horse over the last four years for us. I don’t think you can go in any other direction with it. He’s just been our guy who has gone out there, who is a hard-throowing lefty, who had pretty special off-speed stuff. So I think that’s a good guy to have out there to set the tone for everybody else.”

Lester has been the Opening Day starter the past two seasons, having taken over for Josh Beckett, who got the nod in 2009 and ’10. If the lefty does start the first game this season, it would mark the first time a Red Sox pitcher has been named Opening Day starter three straight years since Pedro Martinez, who pitched seven straight openers from 1998-’04.

After struggling in the ’11 opener, Lester pitched well during ’12 Opening Day, one run on six hits over seven innings in a loss to Detroit.

“I don’t see any way he has lost the responsibility to have that roll,” Buchholz said. “I think you’ll get the same answer from anybody else on the staff.”

Other members of the Red Sox starting staff who have gotten Opening Day starts are Ryan Dempster — who started his fourth opener last season — and John Lackey (2).

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