Orignally written Friday 4/6/07:
I want to just put Dice-K on the backburner for a minute, because I heard some news today that is just as important to the team, in my opinion. Jon Lester had a very, very solid rehab outing yesterday.
OK, I will give you that his rehab is only at level A down in Greenville, being coached by Gabe Kapler, but his numbers were really good...
4 innings, 2 hits. Velocity got up to 96 mph. He still has 3-4 more starts there. His next checkup is the end of the month, so he is going nowhere until they make sure he is still cancer free.
Am I the only one who wants this guy back in the rotation asap? I can't believe no one is talking about it. When they moved Papelbon back to the closing role, the Sox really didn't have anyone to take his place. Right now they have Julian Tavarez in that role, lucky us he is starting on Saturday against Texas.
Julian... remember him? Are you comfortable with that? Sure, as a starter he had an OK September last year, as he was the best that we had at the end of last season with all the injuries. But the best that we had, really still wasn't very good. I saw him only a couple times on NESN during spring training this year, and his was more of a relief role. Hopefully the theory that he is a better starting pitcher than mid relief guy is true, because his audition as closer was an absolute disaster. His first pitch beaned a guy square in the back. His second outing wasn't much better, a couple pass balls, etc. I hope I am 100% wrong, but believe me, I will be holding my breath when he takes the mound on Saturday. Maybe the baseball gods will cut us some slack, and get him to hold the team to the 6th, anyway. I won't count on it, though.
Not If, but When Jon Lester makes it back into the rotation, I expect him to be a decent contributor, and what a comeback story that will be. To return cancer free within one year, stronger than before, what a success story. Sorry guys, I will have my tissues out for that one.