A day after another Groundhog Day letdown, an encouraging sign of spring showed up in Fort Myers, Fla. this afternoon.
Red Sox lefthander Jon Lester arrived at the team's spring training complex today, more than eight days before pitchers and catchers are required to report.
"It's kind of a routine now," said Lester. "End of January comes, it's time to start packing up and heading down. It's something that I enjoy doing. I get used to being on the grass and in the sun...it's just nice to be able to get down here."
Red Sox pitchers and catchers are required to report by Feb. 12, with their first workout on the 14th. Position players are due to report by the 16th and the first full-squad workout will be on the 18th.
And don't forget: Truck Day is Friday.
In addition to addressing his early arrival, Lester talked about the return of catcher Jason Varitek to the team.
"With Tek signing last week, it's a definite boost to our club," said Lester. "He came to my wedding a couple weeks ago. I talked to him just briefly. I know how it is. You don't want to talk about that stuff in the offseason...I just asked him how the process was going, and he said, 'It's going.' I kind of hit him on the chest and said, 'I hope you're back.' That was it."
Our spring training coverage from Fort Myers will kick off on Monday. If you're heading to Florida to catch the Sox, be sure to check out our fan's guide to Fort Myers before you go.