Nationals pitcher Jon Lester to have thyroid surgery after experiencing fatigue

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Matt Weyrich
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Nats pitcher Jon Lester to have thyroid surgery after experiencing fatigue originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Starting pitcher Jon Lester is headed to New York for a procedure on his thyroid that will force him to miss the next week of spring training, Nationals manager Davey Martinez announced Wednesday.

“We’ve known he’s had it. We were waiting for some other results to come through,” Martinez said on a Zoom call. “Talked to the doctor yesterday and he wants to go ahead and have it removed, which we all agreed was a good thing for him. He’ll feel better with it gone and then we’ll go from there so hopefully after he has the surgery I’ll have more for you guys.”

Lester, 37, joined the Nationals on a one-year deal this offseason to slot in behind Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin in the rotation. The veteran starter boasts an excellent medical track record, making 30+ starts every year from 2008 to 2019. He only didn’t reach the mark last year because MLB played a shortened season.

Martinez called the surgery a “little procedure” and described Lester as “upbeat,” saying the team just wanted him to take care of it now before it became a problem in season. Lester had experienced a lack of energy in camp so Martinez is optimistic that fatigue will subside once he returns.

“He’s said he felt kind of tired so that’s the big issue,” Martinez said. “I feel like once they get this out, he’d have a lot more energy throughout the day so I hope it works out for him, I really do. He’s a big part of what we do here and we love having him. So he’s been working his tail off day in and day out and I know he’s gonna help us so hopefully we get this done, nip it in the bud and move on and he’s back with us and in action soon.”

The Nationals don’t expect the surgery to delay Lester’s start to the season. Opening Day is scheduled for April 1 with Lester’s turn in the rotation likely slated for April 5, so he will have about a month to recover and get his arm ready for the 162-game campaign. According to Martinez, the left-hander was already a little ahead of schedule in preparing for the season.

“He’s been ramped up,” Martinez said. “Before we got here, he’s thrown a few bullpens already so hopefully this won’t affect him moving forward. We still have plans as of right now that he will start the season with us on his scheduled day but we’ll have to see after this procedure is done how he’s feeling.”