There’s No Chip On Jon Lester’s Shoulder

 

Jon Lester

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

If over 15 000 fans can jam into Sloan Park for a preseason game against the current World Series champions squaring off with the, um, next World Series champions, that says something about the popularity of the Chicago Cubs. In fact, the Cubs set an attendance record as they defeated the Kansas City Royals 5-2.

As the lineup is getting more and more like the one we’ll see on Opening Day with the likes of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler and Jason Heyward the power is starting to show.

“It’s obvious just by making the daily lineups now,” Joe Maddon said “When you give guys a day off playing but the team that goes to play that day is pretty thick still. That’s what has hit home with me. … The depth is really intriguing. You need that to be successful during the course of a long season. You’re going to have things happen. No question.”

The depth is staggering. There is one question that has been nagging at me since last year–

Is Jon Lester as good as people think he is?

He’s a great pitcher, there’s never been an argument there, but his inconsistencies reared their ugly heads yesterday when he worked on his fielding. He continually doesn’t throw to first and an error led to a run.

“It’s obviously not what I want to do,” Lester said. “Once again, I didn’t move my feet. If I move my feet, I think everything’s fine.”

Lester is a hard worker. With the depth in the rotation, there’s folks who can take his spot.

There has been some concern about bone chips in his arm according to a book by Jeff Passan called “The Arm” read chapter 7.

“I’ve watched him throw several times in camp and I think he’s throwing the ball as well as I’ve ever seen him,” Maddon said. “Regarding any kind of discomfort in his arm, I’m not aware of that. Jonny’s kind of a tough guy, a quiet guy. I think he’s in a good place. Until he talks to me about his arm being uncomfortable, I’m fine with what I’m seeing.”

So perhaps that’s the reason of his inability to throw to first? I don’t know and Theo Epstein wouldn’t have struck that rich of a deal if they were concerned.

“Regardless of what an MRI shows or anything like that, you can throw a pitch and blow out,” Lester said. “I’ve been pitching a long time, I’ve dealt with different minor and even bigger things through my years. I think you can go back and look and I haven’t missed any time for any elbow problems.”

With or without an elbow issue, Lester is a great pitcher with a few quirks and those quirks could lead to problems as the Cubs make their way to October. He has to work on his throws to first base.

“Stuff like that I don’t concern myself with,” Maddon said “Just go play. A bone chip is a bone chip. If there’s an issue, you attack the issue and move on from that. I have a hard time worrying about stuff like that. Right now I think he looks great. I saw him with Boston when he was really good. I think he looks as good as he did in Boston.”

Believe it.

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