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Jon Lester: ‘I don’t have an injury’

07.21.13 at 6:40 pm ET
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It was an uneventful day for Jon Lester. The left-hander threw a 35-pitch bullpen session on Sunday. The undertaking would have gone unnoticed but for the fact that the Red Sox‘ Opening Day starter was initially scheduled to start Sunday night’s game until the Sox announced on Saturday that he would instead be pushed back to Tuesday.

And so, Lester — who last pitched on July 13, and will be working on nine days of rest — was asked to explain his status, and whether he and Clay Buchholz had been exchanging notes on their health. Lester suggested that it makes little sense to put him in the same boat as a pitcher who has been on the DL for more than six weeks and who will travel on Monday to see Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla.

“I think our situations are a little different. I don’€™t have an injury. I haven’t missed any time,” said Lester. “As far as talking to him about his deal, yeah. Obviously we’re all concerned and want him to get better. In comparison to what’s going on with me, we’re miles apart on that.”

Lester has thrown 125 2/3 innings at this point in the season, and entering Sunday, he was sixth in the majors in pitches thrown (2,138). As such, the Sox determined that given the ease with which he could be given some extra days of rest to replenish the tank while keeping the rest of the rotation in line, it made sense to bump Lester back to the fifth spot following the All-Star break.

“We have the opportunity to do it, so, sitting down and talking about it, we felt like it was a good time. We moved it to Tuesday, and everything’s fine,” said Lester. “Just getting ready for Tuesday. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing crazy. Just kind of a normal day in the life of me.”

While Lester has a 4.58 ERA this year (76th among the 93 pitchers who qualify for the ERA title), he suggested that health concerns were not a factor in his struggles. Though his season to date has featured two drastically different stretches — a 6-0 record and 2.72 ERA through nine starts and a 2-6 record and 6.27 ERA in 11 starts since — he said that the distinction beteen his early success and more recent struggles has been more minimal than the numbers would suggest.

“I’€™m not pitching the way I feel like I should or want to be,” said Lester. “At the same time, I think there are a lot of positives within some of those games that I try to take. I just have to keep trying to build off of those. Some of those games really came down to two pitches. If I could minimize those two pitches into positives and limit some of those runs, we’re talking about a different deal right now. I feel good with where I’€™m at the last couple, I feel like I’ve thrown the ball a lot better. I just try to build off of that.”

That effort will start on Tuesday against the Rays.

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