Jon Lester was back on a mound Thursday, wearing a Washington Nationals uniform while facing opposing batters for the first time in spring training and striking out a couple during his two innings, less than two weeks after surgery to remove a parathyroid gland.
“Baseball, for me, is an escape. I come to the field, I’ve got stuff I need to do. I forget about this,” Lester said, pointing to the scar on the front of his throat, after Washington’s 3-1 victory against the New York Mets at Port St. Lucie, Florida.
“You dive into that routine,” the 37-year-old left-hander said.
Wearing a red Nationals No. 34 uniform, Bryce Harper’s old number, along with a green hat the day after St. Patrick’s Day, Lester allowed one run and one hit while throwing 31 pitches, 21 for strikes.
He went to 0-2 counts on each of the first three Mets hitters, getting the first two out before walking J.D. Davis and giving up a first-pitch RBI double to James McCann. Then Lester pitched a 1-2-3 second inning, and that was that.
His operation was March 5 for hyperparathyroidism, which can affect the amount of calcium levels in the bloodstream and lead to someone tiring easily.
Kyle Schwarber hit his second home run and Josh Bell hit his third. Marcus Stroman was stellar in his fourth start for New York, allowing one run on two hits in five innings, striking out six.
New Mets pitcher Carlos Carrasco strained his right hamstring during conditioning after throwing one inning of batting practice and seems certain to miss the start of the season. New York was waiting for an MRI for an indication on how long Carrasco will be sidelined.
“He was running sprints and he felt a pull,” said Mets manager Luis Rojas, who said he spoke with Carrasco while the pitcher was face down on a bed in the trainer’s room.
A right-hander who turns 34 on Sunday, Carrasco has has not appeared any any exhibition games this year.
CUBS 4, INDIANS 3
Jake Arrieta allowed one hit over four innings, striking out five, and Jake Marisnick hit a three-run homer. Zach Plesac pitched five innings, allowing David Bote’s home run in the first.
WHITE SOX 9, ROYALS 7
Dallas Keuchel worked 2 1/3 innings in the start for the White Sox, allowing five runs, five hits and two walks. Keuchel walked Carlos Santana with the bases loaded in the first inning and gave up a three-run double to Hunter Dozier. Andrew Vaughn hit his second home run. Royals starter Kris Bubic gave up three runs, five hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings. Bobby Witt Jr. started at second base and singled. He is hitting .289 and general manager Dayton Moore said he has an open mind to putting Witt on the opening day roster.
DODGERS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 7 (7)
David Price gave up two runs, seven hits and a walk over 2 2/3 innings. Dennis Santana was tagged for four runs and five hits in the fourth, giving up homers to David Peralta and Asdrúbal Cabrera. Cody Bellinger hit his first home run since offseason shoulder surgery. Arizona starter Merrill Kelly allowed four earned runs and eight hits in four innings. Shortstop Nick Ahmed, sidelined since March 6 by knee soreness, was 1 for 3.
ANGELS 3, BREWERS 2
Andrew Heaney allowed one hit in five innings with eight strikeouts. Corbin Burnes gave up one run and two hits in 3 2/3 innings. Billy McKinney homered and Garrett Mitchell, the 20th pick of last year’s amateur draft, singled and raised his average to .529.
ATHLETICS 4, PADRES 2
A’s starter Sean Manaea struggled with control and was lifted after striking out two but giving up two runs, two hits and two walks in the first inning. He returned to start the second inning with better command, retiring nine in a row with five strikeouts. Ka’ai Tom hit his first home run. Adrian Morejon gave up two runs, four hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings.
CARDINALS 7, MARLINS 5
Paul DeJong hit his first homer of the spring and had two hits for St. Louis, and Paul Goldschmidt added a double. Young slugger Nolan Gorman had a three-run double, and the Cardinals overcame a rocky start for Daniel Ponce de Leon, who allowed four runs in five innings. Adam Duvall homered, tripled and drove in three for Miami, but starter Pablo Lopez allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings.
RANGERS 12, REDS 9
Khris Davis hit his first two homers of the spring, finishing with three hits and four RBIs for Texas. The former A’s slugger has been off to a slow start and busted out of a 2-for-22 slump to open his time in a Rangers uniform. Texas right-hander Mike Foltynewicz allowed six runs — three earned — and nine hits over two innings, including home runs to Tyler Naquin and Jonathan India. Both players had two hits for Cincinnati.
MARINERS 6, GIANTS 3
Kyle Lewis had two doubles and an RBI, and Taylor Trammel and Ty France each had two hits for Seattle. Mariners starter Justin Dunn allowed three runs, a hit and three walks over 2 2/3 innings. Anthony DeSclafani pitched one-run ball over 3 2/3 innings for San Francisco, but the bullpen blew that lead. Prized prospect Joey Bart had two hits for the Giants.
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