Jon Lester shifting nearer to creating Nationals debut By Reuters

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© Reuters. MLB: Washington Nationals at New York Mets

The Washington Nationals are on the verge of getting Jon Lester back for his season debut, but the exact date is yet to be determined.

The 37-year-old left-handed has not played on the COVID-19 list this season after the campaign opened. In the off-season he was signed by the Nationals as a free agent.

Lester has made three rehab starts at the team’s alternative training location in Fredericksburg, Virginia, including 90 pitches on Sunday during a six-inning stint. Before Washington’s Wednesday game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Florida, he was supposed to host a bullpen session with 20 to 30 pitches.

“We want to make sure he’s fully ready,” said Nationals manager Davey Martinez ahead of Wednesday’s game and ahead of Lester’s Bullpen meeting. “With that said, who knows? He could line up for us this weekend or he could get another (rehab) start. We’ll probably determine that today after the game or tomorrow.”

Lester was one of nine Washington players paused due to COVID-19 logs. He also had a brief setback during spring training when a parathyroid was removed from his neck.

Lester missed portions of the 2006 and 2007 seasons with the Boston Red Sox when he was treated for anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a form of cancer.

“I just want to make sure he’s perfectly healthy,” Martinez said. “That’s all it is now. He threw six innings, but he only did it once. And we want to make sure he rebounds fully now.”

Lester has a career mark of 193-111 with an ERA of 3.60 in 423 starts and a relief outing in 15 previous major league seasons with the Red Sox (2006-14), Oakland Athletics (2014) and Chicago Cubs (2015-20 ).

Lester has made 26 career postseason appearances, starting 22 times and building a 9-7 record and 2.51 ERA. He won with the Red Sox World Series rings in 2007 and 2013 and with the Cubs in 2016, and was the Most Valuable Player of the National League Championship Series in 2016.

– Field level media

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