Ross sees Lester back with Cubs next season

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester throws to a Cleveland Indians batter during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in Chicago.

    Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester throws to a Cleveland Indians batter during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in Chicago. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 9/18/2020 9:11 PM

While Jon Lester was feeling the emotions during Wednesday's start, which might have been his last at Wrigley Field, manager David Ross was along for the ride.

"Probably the hardest pull I've had, my stomach was in knots knowing I had to go tell him he wasn't going back out after the fifth," Ross said before Friday's game. "I know what this guy's meant to this franchise. I know there's nobody that's done more for me in my career than that human being.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"What he means to me and my family and the things he's done for me -- I wouldn't even be sitting in this seat without that guy. So it was tough."

Lester left after throwing 62 pitches and giving up 2 runs over 5 innings. The Cubs eventually beat Cleveland 3-2 in 10 innings.

But as far as that being Lester's last trip to the mound at Wrigley Field, Ross will choose to believe differently. The final year of Lester's contract is a team option worth $25 million, a figure the Cubs aren't likely to pick up. Lester, 36, owns a career record of 192-110.

"I look at things through a different lens," Ross said. "I don't see it as his last start here. I see him coming back, that's my hope. I think he's got a lot more to prove. I think he's got a lot more to do in this game.

"I know 200 wins is a goal. I understand the uncertainty he's going through, but balancing what's right for the club and one of my best friends in baseball was a tough night for me."

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