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Lester Named Red Sox Opening Day Starter – SportsUntapped.com
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Added March 17th, 2011 by Chalk

Lester Named Red Sox Opening Day Starter
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On Wednesday, Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona announced that lefthanded pitcher Jon Lester would be the team’s Opening Day starter. Lester, 27, made his first All-Star team last year in his fifth big league season and will make his first Opening Day start on April 1 as the Red Sox begin the regular season with a visit to the defending American League champion Texas Rangers.

Francona thinks Lester deserves to go first, while also acknowledging the lefty was the logical choice. “He has that stature in the game now where other teams probably look at him as No. 1,” said the Red Sox skipper. “I thought [Josh] Beckett had a tough time last year. [Clay] Buchholz certainly threw the ball, I mean Buch emerged last year, but if I’d have said we’re starting Buch Opening Day, you’d have said, why not Lester? I think Lester’s been our most consistent pitcher.”

Over the past three seasons, Lester has averaged a 17-8 record, 3.29 ERA and 201 strikeouts. Still, Lester was humble and talked up the other Red Sox starters. “If any of the other four guys were named Opening Day starter it wouldn’t have hurt my feelings,” he said. “The talent and experience we have in this rotation, flip a coin. Anybody is worthy, and anybody would be ready to take the ball Opening Day. It’s a big honor to be named that.”

After the big announcement, Lester pitched 4.2 innings in a pretend game against the Atlanta Braves, allowing eight pretend hits and three pretend runs, while pretend striking out four. Francona called the pretend performance “a good spring training outing.”

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