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Lester, Sox put off contract talks; Rains push Friday matinee to Saturday
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester sits in the dugout during the third inning of Saturday's game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)
Lester reportedly told the team he wants to focus on pitching so the negotiations do not become a distraction.
The New York Yankees are expected to be one of several teams interested in Lester when he is a free agent. Lester has said he wants to remain with the Red Sox, a team he has helped win World Series titles in 2007 and 2013.
According to Yahoo Sports, the Red Sox initially offered Lester a four-year, $70 million deal. The two sides have met throughout the spring, but Lester asked to table the discussions. It is not clear if the Red Sox upped their original offer.
Let’s play two Saturday
The Red Sox game against the Baltimore Orioles scheduled for Friday afternoon was postponed due to inclement weather associated with Hurricane Arthur.
The game was rescheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader on Saturday. The first game will be played at 1:05 p.m. with the second regularly scheduled game remaining at 7:15 p.m. The forecast calls for only a 10 percent chance of rain today.
While Baltimore has yet to announce its Saturday starters, right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (4-5) likely will pitch the opener after he was supposed to take the mound Friday. Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (3-8) was originally slated to pitch Saturday night.
Lester went 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in June, and is fresh off one of his strongest outings of the season June 28 against the New York Yankees. The left-hander allowed one unearned run on five hits over eight innings, leading Boston to a 2-1 win. It was the fourth time in six June starts that Lester had allowed one unearned run or less.
Baltimore will get a boost from the return of Manny Machado in the second game today after the third baseman finishes serving a five-game suspension stemming from incidents on June 6 and June 8 against the Oakland Athletics.
An All-Star and Gold Glove winner in his first full season last year, Machado is batting .239 with seven homers and 17 RBIs this season.