Jon Lester made a triumphant return to the major leagues last night, picking up a win after going six innings, giving up two runs and striking out six in the Red Sox 6-2 victory over the Indians in Cleveland last night.
Jeff Horrigan says that Lester’s return “brought hope and reassurance to so many people in vastly different ways.” Amalie Benjamin looks at the Red Sox offense staying hot and giving Lester a four run cushion before he ever stepped on the mound. Joe McDonald says that Lester’s return is not about the past, it is all about what lies ahead. Jeff Goldberg has Lester just happy to pitch again and get the “W.” Bill Ballou says that last night “completed an authentic feel-good story in a sports panorama that these days is too often cluttered with unhappy news.”
Nick Cafardo says that the sight of Lester on the major league mound after all he has been through in the last year “had to tug at the heartstrings.” Rob Bradford says that last night was the completion of a “338-day, life-altering, fortitude-testing, tear-jerking, deconstruction, and subsequent reconstruction, of a major league pitcher.” Dan Lamothe says that Lester’s heroic return deserves our undivided attention.
Horrigan has Manny Delcarmen picking up his first major league save last night, after coming in with two out in the eighth and then pitching the ninth as well. Joe Haggerty has Julio Lugo surging after struggling so much for the first half of the season. Bradford has Kyle Snyder and others reflecting on the death of Snyder’s former teammate Mike Coolbaugh, who was struck in the head and killed by a line drive while coaching first base in the minors on Sunday night. Ron Chimelis has NESN reacting to calls they got about Josh Beckett dropping an F-bomb on live television during a recent post-game segment. Alex Speier has Bill Ballou saying that he will not vote for either Daisuke Matsuzaka or Hideki Okajima for rookie of the year, stating that the rule that allows them to be considered for the award is “patently absurd.”
Bradford also has Trot Nixon calling a players-only meeting in the Cleveland clubhouse Saturday night to work out some issues between players. Brendan McGair talks to 2004 postseason hero Mark Bellhorn, who was in Pawtucket over the weekend with Louisville, where he has been this season after not being able to stick with the Yankees or Padres since leaving Boston. Mike McMahon has Ozzie Guillen breaking down barriers and speaking highly of the Red Sox chances this season. Mike Bogen says it is time for the Cardinals to bring Rick Ankiel back to the majors. Chad Finn plays nine innings of Red Sox thoughts.
Horrigan’s notebook has David Ortiz reporting that his shoulder was improved enough that he could take a few swings, and still hopes to get back into the lineup tomorrow night. Benjamin’s notebook has Ortiz saying that he’s learned the lesson that he should never run on Jermaine Dye. McDonald’s notebook has former teammates Kelly Shoppach and Nixon also thrilled to see Lester come all the way back from his cancer. Goldberg’s notebook has more on Ortiz learning his lesson about Dye. Ballou’s notebook has Coco Crisp continuing his hot hitting to the point where he is now above his career average at the plate.
Fluto Shinzawa reports on the Bruins trading goaltender Hannu Toivonen to the St. Louis Blues for center Carl Soderberg. Douglas Flynn says that the deal came down to an underachiever for a malcontent. McDonald has former Bruin Brad Boyes thrilled that he’ll be reunited with Toivonen in St. Louis. Mick Colageo also has a look at the deal.
Dan Pires says that the Patriots are loaded this season, but still comes up with 10 questions facing the team as we approach Friday’s start of training camp. Albert Breer reports that second year receiver Chad Jackson will start camp on the PUP list as he continues to rehab the torn ACL he suffered in the AFC Championship game last winter. Michael Parente has Rosevelt Colvin making an appearance at McCoy stadium in Pawtucket on Monday night, talking about the Patriots linebackers and also their newest acquisitions on offense. Mike Reiss has more from Colvin in Pawtucket.
Desmond Conner has former Florida State star Andre Wadsworth attempting a comeback with the Jets after six years away from the game.
Steve Bulpett has Doc Rivers feeling that the NBA is strong right now, despite the current scandal involving referee Tim Donaghy. Bob Ryan strongly disagrees, stating that “Outright dishonesty shatters the trust that must exist between the participants and the sporting public.” Over on the BSMW Full Court Press, Mike Brilliant wonders if Gerald Green has some Kedrick Brown in him.
Steve Conroy has Jeff Jagodzinski showing how different he is from his predecessor at the ACC Kickoff. Mark Blaudschun has a look at the embattled Bobby Bowden. Conroy’s notebook has Tom O’Brien looking to bring some discipline to N.C. State.