SARASOTA, Fla.Jon Lester finally got a taste of Grapefruit League action Sunday afternoon against the Orioles.
He went four innings, giving up one run on one hit and four walks and two strikeouts. He threw 66 pitches, 37 for strikes. Facing 15 batters, Lester threw first-pitch strikes to six.
He earned the win as the Sox beat the Os, 6-1.
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I really liked what I saw of Jon Lester, said manager Bobby Valentine. He had good stuff and he had to make an adjustment during those innings. It seemed like the ball over on that cut side of the plate wasnt being called. He had to make an adjustment to arm side of the plate, and he did. Made some really good pitches over there.
Lester's first two spring training starts came against Northeastern University and the Twins in a 10 am B game.
Lester had some struggles in the second inning Sunday when he threw 51 pitches (27 strikes). After getting Mark Reynolds to open the inning by popping out to catcher Kelly Shoppach, Lester walked the next two batters. But he struck out Jai Miller and retired Ryan Adams on a comebacker to end the inning.
About halfway through the second, finally got into a little bit of a rhythm, said Lester, who was working with Shoppach for the first time in a game.
We had a hard time kind of figuring out where the plate was. We were just missing on a lot of pitches. We ended up limiting the damage. So thats the main thing.
The walks were all pretty close pitches, and Ill take those if Im close . . . There were a couple times the ball got away from me but for the most part I was on the side of the plate that I wanted to be. I was splitting Shop, but he was setting up just a little bit off and just not getting the calls. So its spring training, trying to figure out the umpires, too. Just trying to make an adjustment from there.
Lester was satisfied with his mix of pitches.
Pretty good, he said. I think kind of the middle of the second, we got a cutter in to a righty Miller and it seemed like once I was able to do that it kind of locked me back in and got me back to where I wanted to be as far as my foot getting down and my arm being in the right spot. So that was probably the key pitch of the day for me as far as getting me back over my front side. Just getting to where I was feeling more comfortable over the rubber.
And it was nice to face a lineup that will be representative of what he will see in April.
Yeah, it was good, a little more realistic, he said. Even though the Twins had some guys over there that youre going to face normally, including Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer playing. But getting in the crowd atmosphere and to face pretty much their everyday lineup was nice.
And you can tell just the different at-bats that these guys are putting together as compared to a 'B' game. It seems like everybodys trying to get out of there as quick as possible in a B game. So they seemed to work the count a lot more than usual today.