ARLINGTON, Texas -- Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he plans to have a conversation with pitcher Jon Lester after the team’s batting practice as it prepares to face the Texas Rangers on Monday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
“We’ll see if we can make a plan and get him straightened out, going on the right track,” Valentine said.
“Just a conversation. It’s not anything that has to get deep. We have to talk and figure it out. We’re not solving the world corn crisis.
“You let him know that if you’re that far down, there’s only one way to go and that’s up. I believe in him. I know nobody else in this room does, but I do. That’s a good start and maybe if he’s sitting in here that will make two of us by the time he leaves.”
Earlier in the clubhouse, team trainer Mike Reinold was sitting and talking with rehabbing pitcher Rich Hill when Lester came over and the two walked away. Both Lester and Valentine maintain that Lester is healthy.
“He’s not hurt, that’s for sure,” Valentine said. “He says he feels fine.”
In his last three starts, Lester has allowed 21 earned runs on 25 hits, including five home runs with 10 walks and 12 strikeouts. His ERA is a career-worst 5.46.
When this three-game series against the Rangers concludes on Wednesday, the Red Sox have Thursday off before facing the Yankees in a weekend series at New York. There’s some thought that Valentine could skip Lester and give him some time to regroup, but the manager said he believes Lester will start against the Yankees.
“I think so,” Valentine said. “I’m going to talk to him. If he’s healthy and feels good, yeah.”
The left-hander is scheduled to throw a bullpen here on Wednesday before a final decision is made. Valentine added that he wouldn’t hesitate to skip Lester’s next start if that’s what needs to be done.
When asked how important it would be to get both Lester and fellow starter Josh Beckett pitching well, Valentine said: “We have five guys who pitch every fifth day and they’re all important when the game begins and they’ve got to give us a chance to let the offense start swinging.”