Lester still searching for groove

773026.jpg

Lester still searching for groove

BOSTON --- When left-hander Jon Lester next takes the mound, as he is scheduled Sunday in the series finale against the Blue Jays, he will bring a record of 5-7 with a 4.80 ERA with him. In his last outing, July 17 against the White Sox, he lasted just four innings, giving up six runs on seven hits, one home run, and three walks, with four strikeouts. He needed 91 pitches to get through his outing.

He has given up at least one run, and six total, in each of the first innings of his last four starts. He has allowed six or more runs in three starts this season, all three were his shortest outings of the season.

Lester was not interested in talking about his pitching today, though.

Manager Bobby Valentine was asked if there is anything Lester has done differently in his routine since his last outing.

He went out there last time with pitching coach Bob McClure and worked a little on a mechanical situation and I think hes going out to build on that.

I stay out of thinking about it but watching him its always consistently good stuff and I keep thinking theres a lot of balls that are batted and they arent hit at the fielder. When he gets in the seventh inning its because they are hit at fielders. Maybe hell miss some more bats and have some of the batted balls go right at some people.

Valentine said there is nothing physically wrong with Lester.

Been totally reassured that physically he is tip-top shape, Valentine said.

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

yankees-aroldis-chapman.jpg

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."

Click here for the complete story on CSNChicago.com