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Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Lester throws; Miller has 'little' elbow issue

By Gordon Edes

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Midday greetings from the Fort, where Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester got up and down three times against the Minnesota Twins in a "B" game Wednesday morning, while Bobby Valentine took another squad on a 2 1/2-hour bus ride to Dunedin for a game against the Blue Jays.

We can't say Lester threw three innings, because they were rolling over innings based on time, not outs, so Lester had a runner on second and two outs in the second inning when the teams switched places. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was at the "B" game and wanted to get up to Sarasota for his "A" game, hence the pace.

The scoreboard was not turned on for this matinee affair, but press box maven Brian Mullen counted the pitches and reported that Lester threw 44, 26 for strikes.

I sat with the scouts behind home plate and can tell you, courtesy of long-time scout Larry Corrigan, that Lester touched 92 miles an hour on his fastball, sat at 91, and threw all of his secondary pitches -- curveballs, changeups and cutters. Lester allowed just one hit, struck out one, and walked two, missing with a full-count changeup to Wilkin Ramirez.

Jose Iglesias had a couple of singles and drove in a run, while Will Middlebrooks had a two-run single. Score was kept, in a manner of speaking, the Sox scoring four times, the Twins once.

Highlight of my morning? Terry Ryan, who is back as GM of the Twins, was sitting with the scouts when a ball was lined hard into the stands, over the first base dugout. Ryan got out of his seat and sauntered over five sections to check that a fan who came dangerously close to being skulled was OK.

"Glancing blow off a Red Sox fan,'' Ryan casually reported upon his return.

How may big-league GMs would have done that? You can probably stop counting at one. That's just another of the reasons why Ryan is a beloved figure in the Twins' organization.

Bobby Valentine, meanwhile, told reporters in Dunedin Wednesday morning that Andrew Miller will not make his scheduled appearance Thursday. Miller reported a little stiffness in his elbow. Valentine called it a "little" issue, according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.