Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez announced Wednesday that pitcher Jon Lester was leaving spring training in West Palm Beach, Fla., to undergo surgery to remove his thyroid gland.
The procedure, scheduled to be performed Friday in New York, could sideline Lester for about a week, according to Martinez, who added the hope is that the 37-year-old left-hander will be ready for his first turn in the rotation once the regular season begins.
“I feel like once they get this out, he’ll have a lot more energy throughout the day,” Martinez said of Lester, who experienced fatigue early in camp. “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. He’s been working his tail off, day in and day out, and I know he’s going to help us.”
Lester burst onto the scene with the Boston Red Sox in 2006 and spent eight-plus seasons with the club before landing with the Oakland Athletics at the 2014 Major League Baseball trade deadline.
He then spent the next six seasons with the Chicago Cubs after signing a six-year, $155 million contract in free agency. The veteran southpaw inked a one-year, $5 million deal with Washington this offseason.
It’s been an amazing journey for Lester, who during his rookie season was diagnosed with lymphoma that required him to undergo chemotherapy and temporarily step away from baseball.
Lester has won three World Series titles — two with Boston and one with Chicago — and has earned five All-Star selections in his 15-year career.