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Jon Lester on WAAF: Jackie Bradley Jr. did ‘everything right in spring training’

04.04.13 at 10:18 am ET
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Jon Lester

Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester appeared on WAAF’s Hill-Man Morning Show on Thursday to discuss the team’s quick start, Jackie Bradley Jr.‘s poise, and the experience of opening the season on the road as opposed to Fenway Park.

Lester outpitched CC Sabathia on Monday, and Clay Buchholz pitched seven solid innings in Wednesday night’s 7-4 victory to give the Red Sox their first 2-0 start since 1999.

“Anytime you can get off to a good start like that it just feeds into everybody else,” Lester said. “Buch carried it over last night, did a great job. I think the biggest thing for us is we’re not going to be 0-6 this year to start the season for a change. You get that first one out of the way and you can just worry about playing baseball from there instead of answering questions all of the time.”

One difference between Lester’s and Buchholz’ outings was the innings. Buchholz got through seven full frames in just 94 pitches. Meanwhile, despite a solid effort, Lester only pitched five innings, having thrown 96 pitches.

“I don’t want to come out of any game I pitch,” Lester said. “We don’t get to do it very often. It’s only every five days, so I want to take advantage of the time that I’m in there. But [John Farrell] sat there and talked to me about it and explained their reasoning. They didn’t want me to get up to 110, 120 pitches in the first go-round. So, we’ve got a long ways to go and you don’t want to burn out your bullets and get your team in a bad position on the first day. So, shut it down and let our pretty impressive bullpen go at it.”

Much of the focus during spring training and the early start of this season has been on Jackie Bradley Jr. In his second start, he recorded his first major league hit, a solid RBI single up the middle.

“So far, the kid is pretty impressive,” Lester said. “He did everything right in spring training, said all of the right things and followed it up by his actions. The guy can play. I’ve never really seen a young guy with his poise as far as coming into an environment like Yankee Stadium, [facing] a guy like CC on Opening Day and being able to have quality at-bats like he is having.”

Being a rookie, Bradley can expect some typical rookie initiations from the older players. However, Lester said that with a player of Bradley’s maturity, his treatment is not expected to be too harsh.

“They’ll be some [rookie initiations] through the year, like, he’ll probably have to sing on the bus and we’ll dress him up in September,” Lester said. “Guys like him that get it, that understand that they are rookies and kind of understand that whole inner working of it, they don’t get messed with a lot. It’s the guys that come in and have an answer for everything and talk back when you tell them to sing on the bus and stuff like that. Those are the guys that get it a little bit more. I don’t think he’s really going to have much of a problem fitting in.”

This is the third straight season the Sox have opened on the road. After Thursday’s series finale against the Yankees, the Sox will head to Toronto for a weekend series before playing their home opener on Monday against the Orioles.

“We were talking about it the other day, I was trying to remember if I’ve ever started at home since I’ve been up in the big leagues,” Lester said. “I don’t think we have. So it would be nice to do it, to have that time to go up there and get settled in instead of having six days or six games in, and then trying to unpack when you get up there for the home opener. The home opener is awesome, especially after you’re not 0-6.”

Read More: Clay Buchholz, jackie bradley jr., Jon Lester,
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