FORT MYERS, Fla. Jon Lester met with the media Sunday morning for the first time this spring. Here are a few of the highlights:
How much hes been looking forward to the start of spring training
Its been a while. I think with the way everything ended, since that day. Obviously, it leaves a bitter taste in everybody's mouth and Im definitely motivated to get back and ready to go. Its been a long winter, and just excited to be here. Cant beat being here. Its an awesome place. They did an awesome job, kind of a different feeling just being out here.
How much he has thought about September
A lot. Its one of those things I dont think you ever really forget. In baseball it seems like every year theres something you never see before. That was one thing Ive never really seen. Now that its over and were here and its a new season, a new start. Im kind of glad a lot of these guys went through it. Im glad I went through it. Its going to make us better. It s going to make us stronger to where if we get in a situation like that where were not paying good, we can reflect back on last year and September and realize, OK, we can get through this and we can learn from it and play better.
On why the team had nothing to draw on in September
I dont think any of us had been through it. I think thats the biggest learning curve is going through situations. And when you go through it the first time youre nave. Were all saying were going to be fine. I think kind of the mindset is were going to be in the playoffs. Well get there and when we get there everybody's going to come back and be healthy and ready to go. We stunk. I stunk. Tampa Bay was better and thats just basically how it was. Now you put that in your filing bank and just like your experiences in the World Series and the playoffs and pitching in tight games, the Yankee series all year, you file those into your memory bank and when you get back into those situations you draw from it and learn from it and know Ok, Ive been in this situation before we know how to handle it.
On manager Bobby Valentine wanting Lester to take more of a leadership role
I want to try to. Its something that I think the guys in my age group never really had to do because weve been around guys like Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek and had veteran guys that have been around a long time and weve just kind of sat back and let them do their thing and kind of follow them. So I think its time for us and me to step up and try to feel comfortable in that situation and try to just do the best I can in it. And hopefully just by me going out and pitching and doing the stuff I do in the weight room and in between starts people can, young kids can see that and say alright well this is what I need to do.
On what he learned from his mistakes
Just not doing it. Just being a better teammate. Being on the bench. With that being said, the starting pitchers do have a lot of stuff to do during the game that we dont get to before the game because position players are the priority. And if were not pitching, we let them go first and we come in after the game starts and do some of our stuff that we need to do, whatever that is as far as re-gen or getting with trainer Mikey Reinold and doing some more arm stuff, some type of rehab or just maintenance. So were not going to be out there all nine innings. But Ill be out there more supporting my teammates.
Thoughts on his September performance
Obviously, its disappointing. I kind of like starting bad and finishing good. Need to go back to that formula. It seems to work better for me. But its disappointing. Its a crucial time of the year. Im supposed to pitch good and I didnt. I dont know why. Physically I was, it was September and I was behind and just trying to grind through it. But its just one of those things. It just wasnt in our cards to be good in September. It stinks. Its disappointing. Usually as soon as the season ends I go home I dont think about baseball. I move on I spend time with my family. We travel, that sort of thing. But it just seemed like it kind of lingered in my head and I think that helped motivate me to get in the gym a little earlier and start getting the movement back to baseball. And I think that kind of added a little bit desire to this year getting down here and getting ready.