When Jon Lester went to bed late Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning — assuming he slept at all — he had a decent idea of where he could end up, but nothing was set in stone. A little more than two days later, he was on the other side of the country making his Oakland A's debut on Yoenis Cespedes T-shirt day after being traded from Boston, along with Jonny Gomes, for, you guessed it Yoenis Cespedes.
Such is life for a Major League Baseball player, although for Lester life had been much simpler until this season. After being drafted by Boston as an 18-year-old, he spent the first 12 years of his professional career in the Red Sox organization, including parts of nine in the big leagues. His outlook only started to change during spring training when contract negotiations with Boston broke down, and the Red Sox season broke down right behind it.
So now he's an Oakland Athletic — at least for the next three months — and the next chapter of his career is officially being written. But before the previous chapter closes completely, Lester wanted to say thank you perhaps one final time by taking out a full-page ad in the Boston Globe.
You can view the ad by clicking on the link in the tweet.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) August 3, 2014
Lester's message is as follows:
I have a lifetime of great memories of Boston highlighted by 2 World Championships! Boston will always be home and the love that Red Sox Nation has shown me is something that I will forever cherish. You are truly the best fans in the world! I have been blessed to play with the greatest teammates who are family to me. I want to thank the Staff, Front Office and Ownership for always showing me respect and supporting me during the difficult times. The organization, the fans, and this city have embraced my family and me. My wife, my children and I will always be grateful for the love and kindness that we have enjoyed in Boston. Thank ya'll.
With all our love,
Jon and Farrah, Hudson, Walker and the Lester Family
Even though the door seems open for a Lester return to Boston in free agency, it's nice to see him acknowledge the fans in this manner. It is a business, after all, so there are no guarantees one way or another.
As for his new gig, it started out with a warm welcome, as the 30,097 in attendance at O.co Coliseum cheered his every move, beginning with warmup routine in left field. And it continued on through his 6 2/3 innings of three-run ball against the Kansas City Royals, which was good enough for his 11th victory this season.
Lester allowed nine hits and walked one while only striking out three. That marked only the fourth time he's struck out less than six batters in 21 starts this season. It wasn't his most dominant performance, but that could partially be attributed to his seven-day layoff while his trade status was in limbo.
''After warming up it felt a little more normal, getting back to the pitching performance and worrying about that and not worrying about living situations or moving or anything like that,'' Lester said. ''It was a little different at first.''
One thing that was consistent all day was the affection from the Oakland faithful. In fact, Lester received his largest ovation of the day when manager Bob Melvin removed him in the seventh.
''To walk off to the ovation was great,'' Lester said. ''It kind of makes you feel welcome.''
All things considered it was a very successful day for Lester and the A's as they cruised to an 8-3 victory.
By the way, all eight of Oakland's runs were scored in the fifth inning. Jonny Gomes played a big role in that rally, delivering a pair of singles, including one that knocked in three runs after Royals left fielder Alex Gordon misplayed the baseball.
Another A's deadline addition, outfielder Sam Fuld, starred defensively with an absolutely gorgeous throw to cut down a runner at the plate.
Somewhere Yoenis Cespedes was smiling as he watched that throw.
Actually, we know exactly where he was. At the exact time, he was making his Red Sox debut at Fenway Park. He went 1-for-4 with a single and a run scored as the Red Sox fell to the Yankees 6-4.
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