The early returns on Jon Lester’s minor league start yesterday are as good as you’d want/expect to see. Which is to say there are no alarm bells to sound.
You can read the write-ups from those in attendance, complete with quotes from Lester here, here, and here, among other places. Lester, who threw 55 pitches to Cubs minor leaguers, described the outing as “normal.” His fastball was hitting 93mph, which is solid, but his secondary offerings weren’t as crisp as he would like. Some of that, of course, is just typical stuff at this point in the year.
Lester declined to look ahead to Opening Night, saying, “I got one more start. We got to get through that. I don’t like to go past the next one. Today was good, look forward to the next one. And if everything goes well, then we can talk about Opening Night.” (CSN)
You could probably read an ominous tone into some of that, but I’m inclined to think he’s just keeping things close to the vest right now because there’s no reason not to.
Lester is scheduled to pitch in a game again in four days, and it could be another minor league affair, rather than a Cactus League game. The hope would be to get Lester into the 75 to 80 pitch range so that he could be in the 90 to 100 pitch range for Opening Night.