Lester, 22, was 3-4 with a 2.70 ERA in 11 carefully crafted starts with Triple A Pawtucket as he gradually built up his arm strength. He pitched 11 2/3 innings in April, when he went 0-4 with a 6.94 ERA, but since May 1, he's gone 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA.
The Red Sox were careful with Lester, hoping to get the most out of him when it was time to get his feet wet in the majors.
``I'm very excited about it," said Francona. ``And to be honest, I saw him this spring when he wasn't pitching that well [6 innings, 12 hits, and 13 earned runs]. I see a lot of things in him to see why a lot of people are in love with him. He competes. He's lefthanded. He's got three or four different pitches that he commands. He's on his way to becoming a very solid major league pitcher.
``Hopefully, this will be a very good first step."
The 6-foot-3-inch Lester has four pitches: fastball, cut fastball, changeup, and curveball.
Zito is God wrote:When the hell is Hansen coming up?
Needs to get stretched out, is my guess, since he's still making the transition to starter. Lester's apparently more prepared for that role right now. But this certainly has cup o' joe written all over it.
they want hansen to work on his secondary pitches, and he gets more work in as a starter. they also want to stretch him out some and let him work on his control (he has walked 17 in 23.2 ip in AAA, 4 starts). hansen is built to be a closer, not a starter, and i would be surprised if paps is not put in the starting rotation next season