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Lester eager for first visit to Fenway since '14

Veteran lefty won't pitch in Interleague series, but is excited see old friends
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

PITTSBURGH -- Jon Lester will return to Fenway Park on Friday for the first time since he was traded in 2014 by the Red Sox to the Athletics, however, the lefty won't pitch in the Cubs' Interleague series. He's starting on Wednesday against the Pirates, which may be just as well.

"Obviously, it'd be a unique situation to go back there and pitch," Lester said Tuesday. "It wouldn't be like pitching against David [Ortiz], or if [Dustin] Pedroia is healthy enough to play."

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PITTSBURGH -- Jon Lester will return to Fenway Park on Friday for the first time since he was traded in 2014 by the Red Sox to the Athletics, however, the lefty won't pitch in the Cubs' Interleague series. He's starting on Wednesday against the Pirates, which may be just as well.

"Obviously, it'd be a unique situation to go back there and pitch," Lester said Tuesday. "It wouldn't be like pitching against David [Ortiz], or if [Dustin] Pedroia is healthy enough to play."

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Told that Pedroia was expected back in the lineup, Lester smiled.

"I figured he would be," Lester said. "If he's not dead, he's usually in the lineup."

The veteran is looking forward to seeing old friends and familiar faces from his time with the Red Sox from 2006-14.

"It's going to be a little weird going in on the other side," he said. "There's been a lot of turnover since I left. That makes it probably not as hard. There's a few guys I played with, but not all the guys I grew up with who were there. I think that will make it easier."

Lester isn't sure where the visitors' clubhouse is. He was there for a rookie development program in 2005.

"I'll have to go in the way I know how to go in and walk across the field to find [the visitors' clubhouse] for the first time," Lester said.

When the 2017 schedule came out, Lester got text messages almost immediately about the Cubs' series against the Red Sox. Lester's family and his parents will be in Boston, and his wife has Thursday's off-day planned so they can go to their favorite restaurants.

"There's definitely anticipation to go," Lester said. "It's more to see people I haven't seen for a while."

In July 2014, the Red Sox dealt Lester to the A's along with Jonny Gomes for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. And that was his last time in Boston.

"It's not a vacation spot for me, especially in the winter," Lester said of Boston. "There's been no need to go up there. We figured there was a possibility we'd play them at some point and use that as a time to see the poeple we want to see. Usually in the offseason, the people you want to see want to get out of Boston and go someplace warmer, so they come see us. I haven't had a reason."

Lester was looking forward to seeing manager John Farrell, who was his pitching coach from 2007-10, and third-base coach Brian Butterfield, among others. Lester's son Hudson has been begging to see Ortiz, too, although he wasn't expected.

"Everything I learned about being a big leaguer and routine and accountability and all that other stuff, I learned there," Lester said. "Everything I've learned in the game, I owe to that organization. Now it's my job once I've moved on to pass that information along and continue to grow and get better with the stuff that was instilled in me when I was a young player."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs, Jon Lester