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Lester speaks

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  January 31, 2007 09:15 PM

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Jon Lester, looking fit and growing back his hair from aggressive amounts of chemotherapy, told WBZ radio's Jon Miller that he hopes to be in lockstep with the rest of pitchers and catchers when camp opens for real February 16th.

''I'm going to take it slow for a couple of weeks as I transition from the cooler weather up at home (Seattle) but after that I should be ready to go. I'm aiming for as soon as possible,'' Lester said.

The lefty said he underwent six chemotherapy treatments and received the go ahead to attend spring training workouts on Monday. He said he will undergo checkups every three months the first year.

Lester said he accepts whatever schedule the team has planned for him but expressed that he doesn't want special treatment because of his condition though he admitted he's not quite 100 percent, but hopes to be after working out the next two weeks.

''The club always has your best interests at heart, but that doesn't mean I agree to getting special treatement. If they want me to go slow I'll go slow. If I have to start in Pawtucket or wherever they want me to start, that's what I'll do,'' he said.

Lester acknowledged the Red Sox have five good starters but indicated he will be ready to step in if needed.

Lester said he lost 10-15 pounds during his treatments but has begun to gain weight back and feels stronger. He said he weighed 208 pounds.

Lester said he appreciated the cards and letters he received from so many well-wishers, but he hoped to return to a normal lifestyle and resume his career.

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