Lester’s Fine Debut, Being Behind the 8-Ball Last Year, Attention for Quintana, and Other Bullets

All right. A good day yesterday with the foot, so I’m gonna go do a little more exercise today. I started trying out walking on the boot without a crutch a little, and it seems to be going all right. Within a day or two, I might be entirely crutchless …

  • The Cubs announced yesterday that Jon Lester will be their Opening Day starter this year, the third time he’ll do it in his four years with the Cubs. And in case you were thinking it, yes, this is very early for an Opening Day starter to be named – Lester told ESPN it was the earliest he’s been told in his seven times getting the honor. To me it makes sense to get it out there as early as possible, given that the Cubs have four guys who have a case for it, and you’d rather not have it on anyone’s mind for longer than necessary. Lester came to camp looking great (which Joe Maddon said was a factor in the decision), he’s the veteran leader of the staff, give him the honor and everyone can just focus on getting ready – comfortably and relaxed – for the season.
  • Lester made his Spring debut yesterday after the announcement, and looked perfectly fine. Highlights from Lester’s outing if you weren’t able to watch:
  • And with the announcement that Lester will make Opening Day start  number three with the Cubs, NBC looked at who else has made at least that many Opening Day starts for the Cubs within a four-year span:
  • Also, count Lester among those now conceding that the Cubs felt behind at this time last year after winning the World Series, and not quite being totally geared up and ready to go physically by the time the regular season started (ESPN): “Last year was ‘Hey, we need to slow down, we need to be ready more or less for May than April.’ For a few of us, that put us behind the eight ball. I don’t think we realized that until the end of the year.”
  • David Schoenfield writes about the guy on each team who doesn’t get talked about enough, and if you’re a regular BN’er, I’m assuming you can already guess who it is for the Cubs (and you’ll note that he gets discussed almost obsessively here): it’s Jose Quintana. He predicts that Quintana, not Lester or Yu Darvish or Kyle Hendricks, will be the Cubs’ best starting pitcher this year. The projections actually agree with that, though Darvish is right up there, too.
  • Felix Hernandez is expected to be OK after taking a Victor Caratini liner off the arm the other day (Cubs.com). He apparently told Caratini later: “Don’t worry about it. Just don’t try to hit it so hard up the middle.'” (Don’t listen to him, Victor. I mean, don’t try to hit the pitcher or anything, but hitting it hard up the middle is fine by me.)
  • Anthony Rizzo, uber nice guy:
  • 🎵Goodbye, Taco Bell … though I never needed you at all, you always tasted good, and made my insides start to fall 🎵:
  • Over at Amazon, the Fire TV and Fire TV stick are both on a big sale today.
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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