MESA, Ariz. — Jon Lester gave up four hits and a run, yet also struck out four, in three innings of work in the Cubs’ 4-3 victory over the Rockies at Sloan Park. In short: It was all good. This is why the veteran lefty depends on spring training to get ready for the season.
“In years past, I probably wouldn’t have been able to talk my way into that third inning,” he said. “I was able to do it and had a quick one, so that was good. We got to work out of some games. Got to figure that stuff out, too.”
With David Ross retired, Lester has a new battery mate in Willson Contreras. The young catcher nearly picked off D.J. LeMahieu with a snap-throw to first in the opening inning, then gunned down LeMahieu on an attempted steal of second.
“We all know what Willy is capable of doing,” Lester said. “He likes to show his arm off, and it’s impressive to see.”
Kyle Schwarber hit his first home run of the spring, a high, rather lazy fly ball that barely cleared the wall in right. Tantalizing prospect Eloy Jimenez crushed an opposite-field home run that traveled halfway up the grassy hill beyond the wall in right-center. Another very promising bat, that of red-hot Ian Happ, produced a home run from the left side that landed right in Jimenez country.
Cubs at Athletics, Mesa, 2:05 p.m., 670-AM, Jake Arrieta vs. Raul Alcantara.
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