Jon Lester turned in a sterling effort on Sunday afternoon, going seven scoreless innings, giving up four hits and a walk with 12 strikeouts, beating the Rays, 4-0. With the win he improved to 6-6, lowering his ERA from 3.45 to 3.15.
After the game he was asked about his contract situation. Lester is in the final year of a five-year, $30 million deal.
The two sides had been talking, but at the end of spring training general manager Ben Cherington said they would hit the pause button, tabling talks.
On Thursday, though, CEO/president Larry Lucchino said on WEEI that the Sox would like to resume talks with Lester’s agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, during the season.
“I thought I was going to make it through,” Lester said after the game, joking that he had hoped to make it through his post-game session with the media without the topic of his contract being brought up.
Told of Lucchino’s statement, Lester replied:
“Great, whatever. I think right now, obviously with us playing good baseball and us focused on what we need to do today, I think that’s where we need to stay. The contract talks will come at the right time. Right now we need to worry about what focusing on we need to do tomorrow to win and not let this be a distraction for anybody else in the clubhouse. Like I said, that time’ll come, whether it’s tomorrow, I don’t know. Whether it’s in the offseason, I don’t know. We’ll figure that out as we go.”
Asked if it is easy to maintain his focus, Lester said:
“Yeah, I just play baseball. That’s all I do, all I focus on. Like I said, the timing will be right when all parties are kind of accepting of that. I don’t want my stuff to be a distraction for these guys. This is far from what we need to be thinking about right now. We need to be thinking about playing good baseball and getting back to the top of the standings in the East and continue from there.”