FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jon Lester further bruised his reputation last week with some petulant comments to WEEI.com. For skeptical fans, it was not what they wanted to hear.
But when he met with the media Wednesday, Lester did more than damage control. He showed himself as somebody who really does recognize what has gone wrong since the final month of the 2011 season.
In response to a question from the Globe's Dan Shaughnessy, Lester said he does love baseball and loves playing in Boston, even in the bad times.
"Sometimes I kind of want to strangle myself," Lester said. "It can be intimidating, especially when you have seasons like last year. It's tough. You know you suck and your teammates are trying to pick you up and everybody else knows you suck. You're just trying to kind of break even on the whole deal. It's tough. But at the same time, it's the greatest place to play."
Lester also acknowledged that he needs to be more of a leader with the departure of Josh Beckett. Part of that, he said, is improving his body language on the mound and not complaining to umpires.
Manager John Farrell has spoken to Lester about those subjects.
"You want to express some things, you want to give some honest feedback. This is something that in the time here prior, it was a topic of conversation at times when it needed to be," Farrell said. "You don't want to take a person's personality completely away from him. But at the same time, I think there are limits to not showing composure or not being composed. When that kind of is exceeded, we all need to be pulled back every now and then.
"I think listening to Jon and what he had to say, he spoke very candidly about that. I think he's in the right place and thinking about it the right way right now."