Sunday, January 23, 2022

Former Cubs, Red Sox pitcher John Lester announces retirement

CHICAGO ( Associated Press) — John Lester, a durable left-hander who won three World Series titles over 16 years in the Majors, has announced his retirement.

Lester, who turns 38 on Friday, finished with a 200-117 record and 3.66 ERA in 452 career games, including 451 starts. He has also been a reliable post-season artist, having compiled 2.51 eras in 26 appearances.

The 6-foot-4 Lester helped Boston win championships in 2007 and 2013, and led the Chicago Cubs in 2016. The championship for the Cubs was the franchise’s first since 1908.

“It’s like running its course,” Lester told ESPN. “It is becoming increasingly difficult for me physically. Small things that come to the fore throughout the year turn into big things that hinder your performance.

“I think I’m a half-decent self-evaluator. I don’t want anyone else to tell me I can’t do this anymore. I want to be able to hand over my jersey and say, ‘Thanks, that was fun.’ That’s probably the biggest deciding factor.”

Lester was selected by Boston in the second round of the 2002 amateur draft. The five-time All-Star entered the majors with the Red Sox in 2006, going 7–2 with a 4.76 ERA in 15 starts.

Lester’s first major league season was cut short when he was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma. He underwent chemotherapy and returned to the Majors in July 2007, helping the Red Sox win the AL East title 4–0 with an ERA of 4.57 in 12 games.

Lester then delivered in the postseason, playing 5 2/3 scoreless innings in Boston’s 4–3 win over Colorado in Game 4 of the World Series.

Lester signed a $155 million, six-year contract with Chicago after the 2014 season. He shared NLCS MVP honors with Javier Baez on his way to the Cubs’ historic championship in 2016.

Lester got his 200th career win when he made six impressive knocks in a 5–2 win for St. Louis in Milwaukee on September 20.

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More Associated Press MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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