See also: Jon Lester's previous Prospect Diary
Jon Lester is contributing a diary about life in Triple-A to Baseball America. In this week's entry, he discusses what it's like to be in spring training, plus his take on Delmon Young's run-in with an umpire.
Pitching in spring training was a lot different then I thought it was going to be. Coming in I knew that I was going to keep my mouth shut, ears open, and eyes on the vets. But that was a lot harder then it sounds. By nature I'm a fairly quiet person, until I get to know you, so it was hard for me to feel comfortable. It also didn't help that I didn't throw very well. Pitching against big league hitters is tough. Last year I got away with a couple of mistakes here and there–with those guys you don't get away with anything. And I think my confidence took a hit as a result. I'm finally getting some of it back now and starting to pitch the way I know how.
I don't really have a routine between starts; it's more on just the day I pitch. I like to get up at a decent time and get some pancakes and eggs. That's kind of the biggest thing for me. After that its just little things like, the way I put my uniform on, what time I get ready, and how I get ready. Not too bad though.
A good friend of mine in the organization is Chad Spann. We started playing together in Augusta. Don't ask me how we became friends, because in spring training that year we really didn't talk to each other that much. He's the one that got me started on this whole hunting thing. We had an off day in Augusta, and Chad lives only three hours from there, so we went to his house and went turkey hunting. From then on I was hooked, so every offseason I go down there and we go hunting.
Pitching with a target on your back its tough, but also exciting. The reason its tough is because you have so many expectations riding on you, not only with the organization, but also with your family. However, if you can handle the expectations then it can also make you work harder. I don't think that I have a chip on my shoulder, but I do want to live up to the hype and expectations. And I think that I will, but I also think that it takes time and patience.
When it comes to fishing, I will honestly fish for anything that bites a hook the particular day. But it also depends on where I'm fishing. If I'm in Florida then it's bass, in Rhode Island it's stream trout, at home (in Washington) it's river salmon. But if you were to tell me a puddle had fish in it I would fish it until the sun went down. I know I'm weird, but that's just the way I am and I love being that way. It helps me relax and get away for a while.
I was able to pick off B. J. Upton twice in my last start, which was also the game that made national headlines when Delmon Young hit the home plate umpire with his bat after he struck out against me. Well, when it comes to picking off B.J. you have to get a little lucky. The first time we played them he ran us to death, and ran early in the count. So when he got on the other night I just happened to guess right and got lucky enough to pick him off. The second time was pretty much the same situation. That team likes to run and run a lot, which puts a lot of pressure on the opposing team and pitcher.
Not exactly sure what happened with Delmon. All I know is he got tossed and didn't really like it so he turned around and tossed the bat. I don't think he meant to hit the ump, but the bat stuck to his hand a little long, maybe because of the pine tar or something–and it ended up hitting him.
Thanks again for your time and support. I would also like to thank the readers for checking my diary out.
If you have questions for Jon Lester, please e-mail them to Chris Kline and he'll pass them along to Lester. Some will be answered in future diary entries.