#Cubs Maddon likes what sees of Lester
Jon Lester admitted he’s had trouble fielding since high school, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon isn’t too concerned about that aspect of the left-hander’s game, especially after seeing his first spring outing.
“Right now, I think his delivery and his stuff is better than at any time last year,” Maddon said Friday of Lester, who made his first start Thursday, giving up seven hits over two innings against the Mariners. “Right now, what I’m seeing, I’m really impressed.
“You can look at the game yesterday and people are going to draw the wrong conclusions,” Maddon said. “Delivery and stuff are outstanding, his cutter is there. … The velocity is up. I cannot be more excited than I am about him right now moving forward.”
Maddon said they’ll continue to work with Lester on varying his delivery times as a way to offset any problems the pitcher has regarding defense.
“Yes, we have to work on it,” Maddon said. “I love that he’s conceding that point, and it’s something we’ll work on, but more than that, last year, we had to work through the same issues and he did not have the same delivery and the ball coming out of his hand and ended up pretty darn strong. I’m not going to make any predictions right here, but I see this guy off to a good start going into the season.”
Lester, who was 11-12 with a 3.34 ERA in his first season with the Cubs last year, will likely follow Jake Arrieta and start the second game of the regular season, April 5, against the Angels.
— Carrie Muskat