GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jonathan Lester tuned up for Opening Night against the team the Cubs beat in the last game of the 2016 season.Lester faced the Cubs' World Series opponent, the Indians, on Monday night in his final Spring Training start, and gave up four runs on five hits and
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jonathan Lester tuned up for Opening Night against the team the Cubs beat in the last game of the 2016 season.
Lester faced the Cubs' World Series opponent, the Indians, on Monday night in his final Spring Training start, and gave up four runs on five hits and struck out five over six innings. Cleveland won, 4-3. But Lester did his part, hitting an RBI single in the sixth in his third spring at-bat.
"I hadn't been up there all spring, so it was good to get your feet wet and get in there," Lester said of his hitting. "It's always nice when you get a hit. That adds to the positive."
The lefty was pleased with his outing on the mound, too, and how well Spring Training went. After a long '16 because of the World Series, the Cubs' plan this spring was to ease Lester, Jacob Arrieta, John Lackey and Kyle Hendricks into Cactus League games. It worked.
"The progression was good this spring," said Lester, who made two Minor League starts. "It was handled very, very well on all accounts as far as us pitchers being honest with ourselves and honest with [pitching coach Chris Bosio] and them being honest with us. I feel we're all in good positions right now to go forward."
Of course, Lester is used to extended seasons, having won two World Series with the Red Sox in '07 and '13.
"I think we're all in a good position physically going into the season," he said of the Cubs.
The bar was set high in Boston, and Lester knows the young Cubs won't be settled with one World Series trophy.
"Once you win, you don't want to go back the other way," Lester said.
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.