FORT MYERS, Fla. In his final outing before facing the Tigers on Opening Day in Detroit, Jon Lester pitched four scoreless innings in a minor league game Saturday morning at the Red Sox complex. With general manager Ben Cherington, manager Bobby Valentine, and pitching coach Bob McClure looking on, Lester faced 16 batters, giving up three hits and no walks, with six strikeouts. Lester threw 57 pitches, 41 strikes, including first-pitch strikes to 12 batters, in the Triple-A game against the Twins squad.
Lester had been scheduled to pitch five innings, but was satisfied with his outing after four.
I think we just went off of how it went, he said. Was able to work on a lot of different things and throw some changeups and curveballs. Had a good feel for everything so there was really no point in just keep running out there. So that was kind of what Mac and I talked about at the end and just decided that was good.
Lester will be on a normal five-day schedule before facing the Tigers on Thursday.
He will be making his second consecutive Opening Day start. Last season in Texas, Lester went 5 13 innings against the Rangers, giving up five runs on six hits, including three home runs, and a walk with no strikeouts. He was not involved in the decision, a 9-5 loss.
Heading into this Opening Day has a different feel for the left-hander.
Just the experience of knowing what to kind of expect, he said. I think theres a learning curve to pitch Opening Day that a lot of people dont understand and its just something that you have to experience to kind of get better at. And hopefully this yearll go a little bit better than last year.