#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


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Nice try, Joe.

Lackey looked impressive the first inning today, even though he gave up a bomb. 2nd inning he was lucky getting out of the inning, line drives all over, hit hard.
3rd inning might have been to much, for his first outing.

He was only scheduled to throw 2 innings, and said he was throwing mainly fastballs. Still working on building arm strength. Wouldn’t worry too much about results now

Aloha Carrie- that is a good point. I remember in college ball at the beginning of our spring training my coach would have us that were not pitchers monitor and take stats for our pitchers. I remember one pitcher on our time at the beginning would start off at around 80mph. He had been conditioning in the off season but of course no games to throw in. By the end of the season he was consistently around 88-91mph. I saw this with many pitchers and not just with their fastballs but that seemed to show dramatic changes/results as the season was underway and their bodies acclimating to the environment. Take care now. Mahalo!

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