Red Sox Lester gets Opening Day start

Coming off a breakthrough season, which saw him go 19-9, with a 3.25 ERA and 225 strikeouts, it really wasn’t all that surprising when the Boston Red Sox announced John Lester as the opening day starter. “I think he deserves it,” Red Sox’ manager, Terry Francona, said. “He has that stature in the game now, where other teams probably look at him as No.1. It’s a big honor, but other than that, once we start, that kind of goes by the wayside.” Lester, who will be entering his six season with the Red Sox, has steadily improved over the last three years, where he has averaged 17 wins, 207 innings and a 3.30 ERA. Heading into his spring training start on Wednesday against the Atlanta Braves, Lester, who hadn’t surrendered an earned run in his first two pre-season starts, was obviously excited about pitching the April 1 opener at Texas against the Rangers. “I really can’t explain it any other way other than it’s an honor to be named it,” Lester said. “At the same time, if any of the other four guys had been named the Opening Day starter, it wouldn’t have hurt my feelings. It’s been quite the ride for Lester who, at such a young age, has experienced so many highlights such as, tossing a no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals on May 19, 2008. Most important was starting and winning Game 4 of the 2007 World Series, against the Colorado Rockies. In his short career, Lester, who was named an All-Star for the first time last season, has put together a respectable 61-25 record in 124 starts. Even though the southpaw gave up eight hits and three runs in just under five innings, Lester still feels ultra- confident about his opening day start. “After my last start, I probably would have said one more and I would be ready,” Lester said. “But after this one, I think one more and then we’ll be ready to go. After that next one, I hope we can back off and then get ready for Opening Day.” For the past two seasons Josh Beckett has been the Opening Day starter.

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