Lester heads to team after thyroid surgery
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- After undergoing thyroid gland removal surgery in New York on Friday, Jon Lester was flying back to Florida on Sunday to rejoin the Nationals, which he will be cleared to do following an intake test.
“He said he feels great,” manager Dave Martinez said on Sunday morning. “Now, it’s just a healing process -- and from there, we’ll get him back to his regular routine.”
Lester had been feeling tired, and following a consultation with a doctor last week, he chose to have the procedure during Spring Training. The Nationals had been aware of Lester’s condition. The left-hander signed a one-year contract with Washington this offseason.
“I feel relieved that everything came out well,” Martinez said. “He’s been through a lot and I’m glad that this procedure went well. He’s raring to come back and help us and compete. That’s one thing I know about him: It crushes him when he’s not with his teammates and just being out there, knowing he’s a big part of our rotation.”
Lester, 37, was diagnosed with anaplastic large-cell lymphoma during his rookie season with the Red Sox in 2006. He returned 11 months later after undergoing chemotherapy. Since then, Lester went on to become a three-time World Series champion and five-time All-Star with a 193-111 record and a 3.60 ERA over 15 seasons. This year, he is tabbed to be the Nationals’ fourth starter.
“He was throwing the ball really well before he left,” Martinez said. “He threw a couple of live BPs and he felt good. Hopefully, this doesn’t set him back too much. As soon as we deem he’s ready to get back on the mound and throw a side, I don’t think he’ll need much. But we’ll see when he gets here. His arm feels great, his body feels great. It’s just a matter of recovering now from this procedure.”
The Nationals have parted ways with right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress.
“He was released for personnel reasons,” general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement on Sunday.
Jeffress, 33, was a finalist for the 2020 National League Reliever of the Year Award, after posting a 1.54 ERA with the Cubs. He signed a Minor League deal with the Nationals last month and was expected to contend for a spot in the bullpen.
Because he joined the Nats in late February, Jeffress had been throwing bullpen sessions to ramp up. He did not appear in a Spring Training game for Washington.
Ross to make Spring debut
Fifth-starter candidate Joe Ross is slated to pitch in his first Grapefruit League game on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET against the Mets. The right-hander, who elected not to play in 2020, has not appeared in a game since last Spring Training.