Lester, a left-hander, went 9-14 with a career-high 4.82 ERA last year. That he posted a team-high 17 quality starts only highlighted the frustration that enveloped the team all season. In the second half, as the Red Sox saw any hope of a respectable season slipping away, Lester was 4-8 with a 5.23 ERA. As a result, he became one of the poster boys for a team that symbolized dysfunction. In the end, the Red Sox finished 69-93 and in last place of the American League East.
So, Lester, who turned 29 in January and is entering his eighth season, knows many eyes will be on him this season. And without veteran Josh Beckett, among other familiar faces, in the Boston rotation this year, he knows what his role is.
The Red Sox open the Grapefruit League season on Feb. 23 vs. Tampa Bay.