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Jon Lester tabbed as Opening Day starter

03.27.13 at 10:02 am ET

As expected, Jon Lester was named to start Opening Day by Red Sox manager John Farrell. The manager made the announcement Wednesday morning at spring training in Fort Myers, Fla.

Lester will be followed in the rotation by Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront and John Lackey.

“He was probably targeted all along,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “But at the same time, didn’t want that to be a focal point. His work that was needed and the adjustments that he’s continued to reinforce and repeat on the mound were the priorities. We felt like it was important to focus on the needs of spring training for every pitcher.”

Lester will become the first Red Sox pitcher to start Opening Day three years in a row since Pedro Martinez started seven straight from 1998-2004.

Lester also spoke about the honor earlier this month and did not downplay it. He allowed one run over seven innings last year in Detroit, after giving up five runs in 5 1/3 innings vs. the Rangers the year before.

“It’s a big deal. Don’t let anybody ever say it’s not a big deal, because it is a big deal,” he said. “At the same time, you have to always treat it as just a normal game, and I think I was able to do that a little bit better last year. The first year everything is new. It’s just like your first playoff game, where you think you have to do more because it’s a different part of the year and you’re fighting for something a little more important. You’re thinking, ‘I have to throw harder. I have to hit my spot better.’ You do the same thing you do during the season. All the simple things. It’s the same game. I think that’s what helped me last year.”

The Red Sox open the 2013 season Monday at Yankee Stadium. Lester is 7-2 with a 3.46 ERA in the Bronx.

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