Lester: 'Just too many pitches'


Lester: 'Just too many pitches'

KANSAS CITY Jon Lester's defense didn't help him much in the first inning with two dropped balls in the outfield leading to three unearned runs.

But Lester wasn't blameless in the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals Wednesday night.

Unable to put hitters away with two strikes, Lester was inefficient, with his pitch count climbing to 108 after just five innings of work.

And there's this: in six starts this year as the Red Sox' No. 1 starter, he has just one win. Dating back to last Sept. 1, Lester has just two victories in almost 2 12 months of regular season play.

Lester had two outs in the first before walking Billy Butler, then gave up a single to Jeff Francoeur before the outfield hijinx began.

"Too many pitches," said Lester. "Kind of a theme throughout the game just too many pitches. It took too many pitches to get guys out. It took too many pitches, whether they got a hit or not. Just too many pitches. And it's bad, because I felt like I had great stuff."

The inability to put hitters away with two strikes has been a season-long problem for Lester, but he said it isn't because of the failings of one particular pitch.

"I think it's more location than anything," he said. "The balls I bury in on guys or bounce, they're not swinging at. The balls I elevate, they foul off. And when I'm around the zone, they put it in play. I've got a pretty good feel for all four pitches. I threw all four pitches really well at times and other times, I was just nibbling with them, I guess."

That Lester would have trouble with the Royals was a surprise, given his history. Before Wednesday, he owned a career ERA of 1.30 against them. He hadn't given up more than one earned run to the Royals in any of his last five starts against them, dating back to 2008.

Report: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees reach deal for $86M, 5 years


Report: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees reach deal for $86M, 5 years

OXON HILL, Md. - Aroldis Chapman found a spot in a most familiar bullpen - a very rich spot, too.

The hard-throwing closer reached agreement to return to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night with the highest-priced contract ever for a relief pitcher, an $86 million deal for five years.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the contract was pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet complete.

Once it's done, the 28-year-old lefty whose fastballs routinely top 100 mph would shatter the previous richest contract for a reliever - that was the $62 million, four-year deal Mark Melancon signed with San Francisco just a couple days ago during the winter meetings.

Chapman was acquired by New York from the Cincinnati Reds last offseason, then missed the first 29 games of the season due to a domestic violence suspension from Major League Baseball. The Cuban was traded to the Chicago Cubs in late July and helped them win the World Series, becoming a free agent when it was over.

Chapman went 4-1 with 36 saves and a 1.55 ERA in a combined 59 games for the Yankees and Cubs. He struggled some in the postseason as the Cubs beat Cleveland for their first championship since 1908.

With the Yankees this season, Chapman teamed with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball history. Miller was later traded to Cleveland, but Betances is still with New York.

Earlier this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team was interested in both Chapman and fellow free agent closer Kenley Jansen. The Yankees had already made one deal at these meetings, signing slugger Matt Holliday, before paying a lot more to bring Chapman back to the Bronx.

Fox Sports first reported the agreement.

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu are back together.

The two Cuban natives were teammates in 2012 when they played for Cienfuegos in Cuba, and now they'll be in the same dugout once again — this time in Chicago.

"To get the opportunity to play with him right now in the United States, it's an honor for me," Moncada said through a translator on a conference call Wednesday. "I'm thrilled with that."

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