|No. 34 - Chicago Cubs|
| Born: January 7, 1984|
|Bats: Left||Throws: Left|
|June 10, 2006 for the Boston Red Sox|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Profile @ Baseball-reference.com|
Lester attended Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma, Washington where he was a three-time MVP and three-time All-Area selection. In addition he was named Gatorade State Player of the Year for Washington in 2000.
The Red Sox drafted Lester in the second round (No. 57 overall) of the 2002 Amateur Draft and gave him the highest signing bonus of any second-rounder that year, $1 million.
Lester quickly moved through the Red Sox organization, posting an 11-6 record, a league-leading 2.61 ERA and a league-best 163 strikeouts for the AA Portland Sea Dogs in 2005. He was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Year and Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year and was selected as the left-handed pitcher on the Eastern League's year-end All-Star team and on the year-end Topps AA All-Star squad .
Lester has been one of the Red Sox top rated prospects since he signed with the team and highly sought by other major league teams. Before the 2004 season the Texas Rangers insisted he be a part of a proposed deal for Alex Rodriguez. The Sox also refused to make him a part of a deal for Josh Beckett before the 2006 season despite insistence from the Florida Marlins .
With a rash of injuries and general ineffectiveness of several Red Sox starters, the team called up the prized lefty on June 10, 2006 to make his major league debut against the Texas Rangers. He remained with the big league team, despite struggling with his control. On average, due to a large amount of walks, he loaded the bases approximately once every four innings. On August 27, Lester was scratched from his scheduled start against the Oakland Athletics due to a sore back. The following day he was placed on the 15 day disabled list (retroactive to August 24th, 2006), and was sent back to Boston for testing. At the time, Lester's back problems were thought to be the result of a car crash he was involved in on August 18th, 2006. On August 31st it was reported that Lester had been diagnosed with enlarged lymph nodes and was being tested for a variety of ailments, including forms of cancer . On September 1st, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital confirmed that Lester had a treatable form of anaplastic large cell lymphoma . He season thusly ended, he finished with a 4.76 ERA in 81.1 innings pitched in 2006, his rookie year.
On December 5, 2006, ESPN.com reported that Lester's latest CT Scan showed no signs of the disease, which appeared to be in remission. Lester attended spring training in 2007, and on March 5, he made his first appearance in a game. He retired all 3 batters he faced, with a total of 8 pitches. He started the 2007 season for the class A Greenville Drive. Lester then started for AAA Pawtucket Red Sox in late April. As of June 11, Lester was removed from the disabled list, and sent to Pawtucket for further rehab outings. Lester made his first 2007 start for the Boston Red Sox on July 23 against the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, pitching 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and struck out 6, picking up the win. He finished the season with a 4-0 record in 11 starts, posting a 4.57 ERA with 50 strikeouts.
In the 2007 World Series, Lester won the series-clinching Game Four for the Red Sox, pitching 5⅔ shutout innings, giving up just 3 hits and 3 walks while collecting 3 strikeouts. Lester became just the 3rd pitcher in World Series history to win the series clinching game in his first post-season start.
On May 19, 2008, Lester threw his first career Major League no-hitter, and the 18th in Red Sox history, in a 7-0 win against the Kansas City Royals. Lester threw 130 pitches in the game, allowing only two walks and striking out 9 batters, although he was charged with a throwing error on a pickoff attempt in the second inning. It was the first no-hitter thrown by a Red Sox left-handed pitcher since Mel Parnell in 1956, the first in MLB since Clay Buchholz's September 2007 no-hitter, and the MLB-record fourth no-hitter caught by Jason Varitek. It was also only the second no-hitter ever pitched against the Royals; Nolan Ryan pitched the other in 1973.
After the game, Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who earlier in the day had attended his son's commencement ceremony at the University of Pennsylvania, was quoted as saying, "This probably isn't fair to say, but I feel like my son graduated and my son threw a no-hitter. It's probably selfish on my part to even say something like that. But I think it's obvious how we feel about this kid."
Just as Clay Buchholz's no-hitter was preserved by a diving play by rookie Dustin Pedroia, Lester's was preserved by a diving catch by rookie center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to end the fourth inning.
Lester, a left-hander, pitches from a low three-quarters arm angle with a deceptive delivery. He features a 4-seam fastball (89-95), a cut fastball (86-89), a slider (75-80), a plus-changeup, and a good curveball (72-78 mph).
- ↑ Player Profile on mlb.com
- ↑ ESPN (12-05-2006). Report: Lester's latest CT scan clean. ESPN.com. Retrieved on December 05, 2006.
- ↑ Associated Press (09-01-2006). Sox: Lester has treatable form of lymphoma.. Boston Herald. Retrieved on September 01, 2006.
- ↑ Red Sox option LHP Jon Lester to Pawtucket. MLB.com (06-11-2007).
- ↑ Lester gets the honor - Extra Bases - Red Sox blog
- ↑ Ian Browne (2008-05-19). Lester hurls 18th Red Sox no-no. Retrieved on 2008-05-19.
- ↑ No-hitter not possible without Ellsbury