FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Bad outings are going to happen for every pitcher, and the way Jon Lester sees it, they might as well come in spring training when they don't mean much.
In a 2-1 Red Sox loss to the Minnesota Twins Friday night, Lester labored through four innings, walking one and hitting two, and running his pitch count to 81 pitches in the four frames.
"I felt alright physically,'' said Lester. "I was just a little out of whack, out of rhythm. I couldn't really make the adjustment and be consistent. I couldn't repeat (my delivery) -- that was the big thing, and it led to a lot of pitches.
"Stuff like this happens during the season. You have games where you have to grind it out when you're not feeling that great, whether it's physically or mechanically, like it was tonight, and minimize the damage.
"It's a good thing to work on, pitching out of jams. You've got to do it during the season, so you might as well practice it here. It's not ideal, obviously.''
"Looks like everything was more of an effort than it will be soon, I hope,'' said manager Bobby Valentine of Lester's outing. "He was all right. He was just missing against lefthanders on his glove side, I thought. Other than that, his stuff was OK, good enough to progress with.''
Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis.
Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time.
The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.
Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.
Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer. And…
US ambassador to Japan?
Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.
The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons.
When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team."
Would he be interested?
"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.
Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.