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03/15/2009 11:00 AM ET
Red Sox agree to terms with left-handed pitcher Jon Lester on five-year contract with option for 2014
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BOSTON, MA -- The Boston Red Sox have agreed to terms on a five-year contract with lefthanded pitcher Jon Lester with a club option for 2014. Terms were not disclosed.

The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein.

Lester went 16-6 with a 3.21 ERA over a team-high 33 starts in 2008, his first full season at the major league level. The 25-year-old finished among American League leaders in shutouts (T1st, 2), ERA (4th), starts (T5th), innings (T7th, 210.1) and wins (T8th) and was named the Red Sox Pitcher of the Year by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Cleveland's Cliff Lee (22) and the Angels' Joe Saunders (17) were the only A.L. lefties with more wins than Lester's 16 in 2008, the most by a Red Sox southpaw since Bruce Hurst's 18 in 1988. The Tacoma, Washington native joined Babe Ruth (1916) and Lefty Grove (1937) as just the third lefthanded Boston hurler ever to record 15 wins, 30 starts, 200 innings, 150 strikeouts and a sub-3.50 ERA in a single season.

Lester threw the 18th no-hitter in club history in a 7-0 win over Kansas City on May 19, 2008 at Fenway Park. He allowed just two base runners on walks in the second and ninth innings and retired 20 consecutive batters between the free passes. He was the first Red Sox lefthander to toss a no-hitter since Mel Parnell against the White Sox on July 14, 1956.

A lymphoma survivor, Lester was given the 2008 Hutch Award for "fighting spirit and competitive desire" by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and in 2007 received the Tony Conigliaro Award for overcoming adversity.

Boston's second-round pick in the 2002 draft owns a 27-8 record with a 3.81 ERA in 60 career games/59 starts in the majors since making his debut in 2006. His .771 career winning percentage is the highest in the majors since 1900 among pitchers with at least 30 decisions. He is 2-2 with a 2.25 ERA in seven career post-season games/five starts including a 1-2 mark and 2.36 ERA in four playoff starts in 2008. He was the winning pitcher in the decisive fourth game of the 2007 World Series and his 1.95 ERA as a starter in the postseason is the third-lowest in club history (minimum 30.0 innings).

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