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Jon Lester opens up on David Ross, his offseason workouts and how he’s dealing with aging

1 year agoTony Andracki

In spring training, before COVID-19 took over the country and shut down professional sports indefinitely, Ryan Dempster caught up with Jon Lester.

The two former teammates talked about a wide range of topics as they played a light round of catch, including what it’s like to play for David Ross, who used to be Lester’s personal catcher in Boston and with the Cubs.

“I’m excited for it, I’m excited for him,” Lester said. “It’s a whole new chapter for all of us.”

The 36-year-old southpaw has a good sense of humor about being the oldest player on the Cubs roster, now that Ben Zobrist is gone.

As he entered his 14th big-league camp, Lester explained what he focused on over the winter, including shedding some weight and changing his mindset as he’s aged.

“When you’re young, you take a lot for granted,” he said.

Last season, Lester failed to top 180 innings pitched for the first time since 2007 as he posted a 4.46 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. 

We’re still not entirely sure when the 2020 MLB season will begin, but when it does, Lester has a simple goal for himself.

“I want to be relied upon,” he said. “Every 5 days, they know, OK the bullpen’s gonna get a little bit of break today. I always prided myself on that — I walk in and I’m like, ‘Hey, I got you guys. Just get the closer up’ hopefully.

“That’s the stuff. That’s what kinda drove me this offseason to try some different things. I can’t get in the gym and lift what I used to lift and I can’t run like I used to run, but now I’m trying different things as far as staying loose and flexible, maybe drop a few pounds. You can pitch at a heavier weight when you’re younger. I don’t know if I can do that anymore.

“I just like to be relied upon. I don’t want it to be — ‘go stand over here and we’ll see you every 5 days.’ I want guys to still be excited when they see me run out there.”

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