Pregame interview with Jon Lester
Pitcher discusses getting Game 4 start after battling cancer
Clint Hurdle made kind of a reference with you and Aaron facing each other that two guys that have come back from pretty serious life threatening scares, that this start has got God's fingerprints on it a little bit. In your mind does it seem bigger just in the fact that it took a little bit of a lucky bounce for you to get a start in the World Series with the Tim Wakefield situation? Does it seem like bigger things are in the works?
JON LESTER: I don't think so. It was unfortunate that Tim went down, and I guess I just filled in his spot. I don't think there's anything special about it. You know, I'm just trying to take it as another start, trying not to look at it as anything extra than that.
I have never been sick, so I ask this question with all due respect. But was there a point in your sickness where you were so low that you could not possibly imagine having a moment like this, not just in your career but in your life?
JON LESTER: No, not at all. That's not my mentality. You know, I'm a competitor. I don't want to be down with anything. I just try to take that mentality into it. Don't feel sorry for yourself, don't sit at home and think about it.
I had a pretty -- for the most part I had a pretty normal off season. I went fishing and went hunting and did things that I like to do, within reason.
I just tried to do that and keep my mind off of the other stuff and tried to be as normal as I could.
I know it's not a long stretch since you've come back, but how much stronger do you feel strength-wise from when you first came up until now?
JON LESTER: Right now it's not necessarily strength-wise. I'm lifting the same weights, doing the same things and feel good about it. It's just right now it seems like my fastball has got a little extra on it, it's getting the life back to it. I'm not getting as tired towards the end of the game. Just little things. My mechanics are repeating themselves more, and just being more consistent in the zone.
I think everybody wants to talk to you about cancer and overcoming that, but how excited are you just as a pitcher, as a regular guy, about starting a game, Game 4 in the World Series, the biggest stage there is in baseball?
JON LESTER: I'm pretty excited. It really hasn't hit home yet, but I'm sure tomorrow when I wake up and realize that I am pitching that I'll start thinking about it and getting nervous. But right now it really hasn't hit home, and I'm just trying to focus on tonight, and hopefully we can pull it out again tonight.
You mentioned how competitive you are. What does being around people like Schilling, Beckett, Papelbon, taught you even more about competitiveness?
JON LESTER: I think Schill and Beckett take it to a whole other level between themselves, but they've pushed me quite a bit the past few years. It definitely helps to have those guys in the clubhouse. If you go out and you pitch well, they don't settle for that. They want you to pitch well the next start and the next start after that. If you don't pitch well they kick you in the butt and get your confidence back and get you back out there in the next five days.
Oftentimes when people come back from injuries, when professional athletes come back from injuries, you hear them say they appreciate their second chance so much greater because of the scare. Well, goodness knows you had a scare. Do you have any difference of appreciation when it comes to the texture, the feel you have for what you're going through now post cancer?
JON LESTER: Definitely. Last year I didn't really get a chance to enjoy what was going on, and being up in the big leagues, being a part of every kid's dream and playing up there with these guys. I took a lot of things for granted last year, and I beat myself up over little things.
This year I've tried to just have fun, treat it like a game, like a kid's game, have fun doing it, and I think it's helped out quite a bit. I don't beat myself up over the little things anymore and just go out and try to compete.
There are going to be a lot of people around the country who are sick and going through the same thing you did who are going to turn on the TV tomorrow and see you pitch in the World Series. Can you talk about being an inspiration to people you don't even know and will never meet?
JON LESTER: I don't know about that. I mean, I think that if people would have been in my situation they would have done the same thing, so I don't think that I'm any different than anybody else. It just so happens that I play baseball and we're in the World Series and we're on a big stage.
You know, it's great if I am. Hopefully I can help somebody out. But I don't look at it that way. I just look at it as I was a normal person and did anything that anybody else would have done.
Do you have any idea yet just how deep you might be able to go into this game? Obviously the effectiveness will be a factor, but as far as since it's been a while since you've made a start, do you know how deep you will go?
JON LESTER: I have no idea. I don't look at it that way. Hopefully I can go out, like you said, and be effective and give my team a chance to win, and that's all I'm looking at doing is doing that. If I get into the sixth, seventh, eight inning that's great, and if I don't hopefully I can get into the fifth and sixth and turn it over to our bullpen, which has been phenomenal this year. I'm just looking to go out there and compete and hopefully be effective and leave the game ahead.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.