Jon Lester on WAAF: ‘I stand behind my teammate’ Ryan Dempster
|09.04.13 at 11:00 am ET|
During a Wednesday morning appearance on WAAF’s Hill-Man Morning Show, Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester went to bat for fellow starter Ryan Dempster, who plunked Alex Rodriguez two weeks ago and set off a national debate.
“He never told us straightforward if he threw at him on purpose, but if he did, I stand behind my teammate,” said Lester, who was on a plane to San Francisco ahead of the team’s game against the Giants the following day when the incident occurred. “I don’t think you can do anything but that. … If that was his intent, then I would have ran right out there with everybody else and stood in front of him and do whatever I need to do to protect him. That’s our clubhouse, that’s our team. That’s the way it should be in baseball. That’s what you have to do.”
Lester also defended his other teammate who played an integral roll in the controversy: David Ortiz.
Ortiz reignited the debate a few days after the incident, with his comments about his disapproval of Dempster hitting his friend Rodriguez.
Lester downplayed the comments Ortiz made to USA Today, and said that the Dominican slugger has a tendency to confuse his words when conducting interviews in English.
“David, he speaks really, really good English, but sometimes — and this is not a knock to him — he means one thing and says another,” Lester said. “I’ve been around for seven years, and he’s done that before, just having a conversation. He’s kind of like, ‘Oh, I didn’t mean that, hold on,’ and he’ll go back and change what he’s trying to say.
“Obviously when you say something like that to the media, you can’t go back and change it. But obviously everybody in the clubhouse knew what he meant by that, and nobody [in the clubhouse] took it the way that everybody else took it. We all knew what he meant, and we all know he’s got Demp’s back.
“He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever played with. Nobody thought anything about it when he said it. Obviously things get blown up a little bit around here. It got squashed pretty quickly.”
Lester went seven strong innings Tuesday night in his team’s 2-1 win over the Tigers at Fenway Park. He allowed just one run, scattered eight hits, struck out nine batters and, most importantly to him, walked zero.
“Obviously I gave up some hits last night, but the biggest thing was no walks, no extra baserunners that weren’t earned,” said Lester, who walked seven batters in his previous two starts combined.
Lester earned the win by outpitching Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer, who entered Tuesday’s game with a 19-1 record.
Despite the daunting task of facing off with one of the AL’s best starters, Lester was more concerned about facing one of the best lineups in the majors.
“I’ve always tried to say and believe that you’re not pitching against the other guy,” Lester said. “I don’t need to prepare for Max Scherzer, I need to prepare for the Tigers lineup.”
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