Boston Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester has been very impressive in both of his appearances this spring, and he’s attributing part of this early success to the return of former pitching coach John Farrell.
Farrell, now the team’s manager, has worked alongside new pitching coach Juan Nieves to help Lester tweak his delivery in an effort to return the Red Sox ace to the dominant level in which he pitched back in 2010, when the veteran won 19 games.
“It’s been good so far,” said Lester. “It’s nice having John here, just because of all the things that we worked on in previous years here. It’s kind of weird that he remembers them all. He remembers all the little keys that stand out in my mind when we’re trying to work on stuff.”
Lester is 2-0 this spring, and has yet to surrender a run in five innings. He’s allowed just one hit thus far, and has three strikeouts to only one walk. Farrell noted that Lester has changed the angle of his lead leg when delivering pitches to the plate, and it’s resulted in an ancreased ability to keep the ball down in the strike zone.
The Red Sox and Lester are hoping that the 29-year-old can bounce back from a very subpar 9-14 performance in 2012 and regain the form that allowed him to win 65 games from 2008 through 2011. The eight-year veteran is slated to be the team’s opening day starter.
(JM Catellier is the author of the book Fixing Baseball, a guide to restructuring the Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter: @FixingBaseball and Facebook, and check out his site: www.fixingbaseball.com)