As the Boston Red Sox head into the All-Star break, the prevailing off-the-field storyline regarding the team centers around the contract status of its ace, Jon Lester.
Lester, one of two Red Sox representatives making the trip to Minnesota for All-Star festivities, is set to hit free agency after this season for the first time in his career. The left-hander has made it clear on several occasions that he wishes to return to Boston, but he and the team as of yet have not been able to agree to terms on a new deal.
Former Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens touched on Lester’s situation during a wide-ranging interview with The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo over the weekend, saying that he doesn’t believe the ongoing negotiations will have an impact on 30-year-old’s performance on the mound.
“I think (Lester) feels comfortable in his position now as an elite pitcher,” Clemens said. “There was one game I watched and I texted him right after where I said, ‘You need to keep that tape right in your side drawer or in your computer.’ He was incredible how he was able to repeat his delivery.
“Let’s be real. You can go 12-12 and throw 200 innings and they’ll give me $18 million. That ain’t no pressure. Just go out there and be yourself and you’re going to get paid. And (Lester’s) left-handed.”
Clemens also offered his take on recently demoted right-hander Brandon Workman, a fellow University of Texas product who was sent down to Triple-A last week.
“I watch Brandon quite a bit,” Clemens said. “I’ll get a call from a friend of mine who knows Brandon and he’ll have a question. Some of these guys will ask different questions. Just recently (Workman) said he’s not very happy about going back to Pawtucket. I said, ‘You shouldn’t be because you’re a big leaguer, and you’ll be right back there in no time.’ Don’t go getting (ticked) off like I did when I was young.”
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