|Jon Lester kicks off his spring training with two perfect innings||02.24.13 at 5:38 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Jon Lester turned in a solid performance in his first spring training outing of 2013, retiring all six batters he faced in what resulted in a 5-3 Red Sox win over the Cardinals in Jupiter.
Lester threw 17 of his 24 pitches for strikes, relying solely on fastballs with the exception of one changeup.
“It’s nice to have that calendar year where you can just turn the page onto a new season and everyone starts fresh again,” he told reporters. “The last three months [of the season], I pounded away on myself to find out what was going on — trying different things in workouts, trying different things between starts. So once we got away, I took those first couple weeks off and it really helped mentally and physically to, you know, hit the reset button, blank page, the whole deal. Get back to being me.”
Lester, who is coming off a season in which he went 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA, has been working to stay consistent in the delivery that resulted in so much success prior to 2012.
The lefty is keying on allowing his front leg to drive toward the plate rather than swinging open, thereby allowing hitters less of an opportunity to get a view of the pitcher’s offerings. It also allows Lester to get on top of the ball, limiting the chances of pitches running out over the plate.
“You obviously learn a lot from things that don’t go your way. You learn a lot about yourself, you learn a lot about your teammates,” said Lester, who totaled a 3.50 ERA in his four Grapefruit League outings last spring training striking out 14 in 18 innings. “I don’t like going out every five days and getting my [butt] kicked. I like to win.
“I don’t know if sucking sets you up for a good season; if it does, great. I don’t want to do it again. It humbles you. For me, the biggest thing was the embarrassment of not being me and getting back to the basics in the offseason, getting back to doing the stupid stuff that you forget about when you’re in the minor leagues.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell also came away encouraged by the outing.
“He’s made some tangible adjustments in camp, and I think those started last season, and they’ve carried over into spring training,” Farrell said.
Helping key the Red Sox’ offense against St. Louis were Daniel Nava and Mauro Gomez, who each had a pair of hits, with Pedro Ciriaco managing a two-run single.
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