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Sports

March 10, 2009

Lester growing strength with each start

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Jon Lester had much more to say about his changeup than he did about his future.

The left-hander threw 57 pitches in his third spring training start, and a makeshift Boston Red Sox lineup outslugged the Pittsburgh Pirates 15-14 yesterday in a 10-inning game that lasted 4 hours, 10 minutes.

Lester's outing came one day after Yahoo.com reported that he and the Red Sox had agreed to a $30 million, five-year contract extension with a $13 million club option for 2014, pending a physical today.

The Yahoo! Sports report cited an unidentified source close to the team. Lester, however, said no deal had been completed.

Asked if he was scheduled to take a physical, Lester replied: "I have no idea."

"I don't know what the schedule is the next couple days. I'm sure when they're ready to announce anything if there's anything to announce, they'll do it. So, I'll just show up and do what I'm told," he said.

Lester said there was no contract agreement pending, to his knowledge, but he would welcome the stability of a long-term deal.

"Oh yeah, I think anybody (would)," he said. "But now nothing is final and nothing is written in paper or written in stone. So, like I said, I just show up and do what I'm told and go where I'm told to go, and that's all I can worry about."

Lester overcame cancer to emerge as Boston's best starter last year, going 16-6 with a 3.21 ERA. He added a no-hitter against Kansas City to a resume that already included the clinching victory in Boston's 2007 World Series title.

The Red Sox signed 25-year-old second baseman Dustin Pedroia and first baseman Kevin Youkilis, who turns 30 on Sunday, to long-term deals this offseason. In December, Pedroia agreed to a $40.5 million, six-year contract. The next month, Youkilis got a $41 million, four-year deal.

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