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Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz react to Jon Lester’s potential departure: ‘We’re not teammates, we’re family’

07.30.14 at 12:49 am ET
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The atmosphere in the Red Sox clubhouse was eerily somber following the team’s 4-2 loss at the hands of the Blue Jays Tuesday night. However, this aura of disappointment was not due to the numbers on the scoreboard, but rather the growing realization that one of the Red Sox‘ most beloved players might not be at his locker the following morning.

Red Sox manager John Farrell confirmed after the game that Jon Lester, who has been the focus of trade rumors for the past few weeks, would not make his scheduled start Wednesday, further adding to the belief that the southpaw’s days in Boston are numbered. One general manager told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that a deal could be struck as soon as Wednesday morning.

While Lester’s performance on the mound (10-7, 2.52 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) will be difficult for Boston to replicate if he is indeed dealt, the possibility of losing the lefty’s presence in the clubhouse struck a much deeper chord with some of his teammates.

For veteran leaders like Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, the impact of Lester’s potential departure goes far beyond the box score.

“It’s tough. We’re not teammates, we’re family,” Pedroia said. “It’s something that you don’t like going through.  It makes you feel worse. We don’t want to be in this position. … We should be adding instead of subtracting, so hopefully he’s here.”

Pedroia continued: “We’ve got a big game to play and we want him pitching it. … It would be tough to see him in another uniform.”

Said Ortiz: “Lester is like a brother to me. [Pedroia] was right, we’ve been together for a long period of time. Just because of the fact that all of these trade rumors are going around and him being scratched tomorrow, it can get a little complicated. We’ll see how that works.”

Trade talks revolving around Lester began to generate this month after contract talks between the left-hander and the team failed to generate much progress.

“It’s surprising, but what can I say,” Ortiz said. “This game, you never know what’s going to happen — you never know what’s next.”

While Pedroia would not comment on how he felt the negotiations between both parties were handled, he once again reinforced his support of his teammate.

“I don’t make those moves, man,” Pedroia said. “I’m just here to support Jon as a teammate.  Every time he takes the ball, we’ve got a great chance of winning. I don’t think about the other stuff — I can’t control that.”

Lester has endeared himself to his teammates, coaches and fans during eight-plus seasons in Boston, becoming one of the faces of the Red Sox over the last decade due to his production on the hill (110-63, 3.64 ERA), postseason heroics (2.11 ERA in 13 playoff appearances, two World Series titles), as well as his fight against anaplastic large cell lymphoma in 2006 and his resulting comeback.

“I mean, of course you want to keep Lester around and continue playing together with him. He’s one of the best pitchers in the game, no question about it,” Ortiz said. “It [would be] frustrating just seeing him going somewhere else. … We don’t want to go ahead of what is going on, we’ve got to wait to see what’s going to happen.”

Baseball has little time for reflection during a grueling 162-game season, as Boston has to take the field Wednesday night to try to avoid a Toronto sweep. But for Pedroia, it will be hard not to dwell on his close friend’s future in Boston over the coming days.

“I really don’t think too far ahead,” Pedroia said. “I kind of live minute by minute, but I hope in a couple of days, he’s here. … I’m hoping I open the door and he’s in there.”

Read More: David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Red Sox
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