Cubs' Lester not bothered by MLB pitch clock
MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs ace Jon Lester is pretty much unfazed by anything when he's on he pitcher's mound. So was Monday as Major League Baseball's pitch clock ticked away while he worked against the San Diego Padres at Sloan Park.
"Sure," Lester said with a hint of sarcasm when asked about the clock. "Whatever makes people feel better. Kind of like what I've always said. Baseball is baseball. You're not going to speed it up. You're not going to change it. You can put the pitch clock there. The game is going to flow the way the game flows."
Things flowed nicely for Lester in his spring debut. He walked the first batter of the game, Travis Jankowski, but retired the next three Padres, even as Jankowski stole second and third bases.
It was a quick 1-2-3 second, as Lester got Francisco Mejia on a fly out before striking out Jose Pirela and Hudson Potts.
For his 2 innings, Lester threw 31 pitches, 18 strikes, before he was relieved by Brandon Kintzler. The Cubs (3-1) went on to win the game 6-4.
"I think we're on a pretty good pace right now for a schedule," he said. "They did a pretty good job the first week (of spring training) of getting us ready, communicating whether we wanted an extra BP (batting practice) or not or an extra bullpen. I think everything's been going well so far."
Last year, Lester was 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA. Since becoming a Cub before the 2015 season, he is 61-31 with a 3.33 ERA.
Bote doing OK:
News appears good for infielder David Bote, who was hit on the batting helmet by a pitch Sunday by the Giants' Madison Bumgarner.
Bote is looking to return to baseball activities Tuesday and to be ready to play in a game by Wednesday. There was no diagnosis of a concussion, according to the Cubs.
"You hear it, and you watch the hitter's reaction," said manager Joe Maddon. "I went out there. He was fine. He didn't lose consciousness or anything like that, but I did not like the way where it seem to have hit him. He just seemed unstable in that moment. I did not like it.
"He wanted to stay in. I said, 'Listen, this is not September or October. Let's just do this right now. Make sure that you're fine and we'll move it on from there.' That's exactly how it came down."
This and that:
Yu Darvish makes his spring debut Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Muscle and elbow problems limited Darvish to 8 starts last year. He'll work against former Cubs farmhand Zack Godley ... Catcher Willson Contreras hit a 3-run homer in the fourth inning Monday to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead. It was Contreras' first homer of the spring.