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January 21, 2009 at 10:47 AM

Jon Lester on Aardsma

I just got back from talking to Jon Lester of the Red Sox, this year’s Hutch Award winner, who made an appearance this morning at the Hutch School with Hall of Famer Tom Seaver. Seaver is the keynote speaker at the Hutch Awards Ceremony at Safeco Field later this afternoon.
This is my 11th year intervewing the Hutch winner at the Hutch School appearance, and it’s always heartwarming to see them interact with the kids, most of whom have parents or siblings who are cancer patients in Seattle. This year was especially poignant because Lester, as far as I know, is the first Hutch winner who was also treated for cancer at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Not only that, but his father, John Lester — who was in attendance today — also went through cancer treatment for lymphoma, the same form of cancer that Jon had. Mr. Lester was diagnosed about a year after Jon went through treatment. Happily, both of them now have a clean bill of health.
I’ll have a full column tomorrow on Lester, but I slipped in a question about David Aardsma, who pitched for the Red Sox last year and was traded to the Mariners on Tuesday. That was news to Lester, who was taken aback when I asked him how he thought Aardsma would do with Seattle. With all the Hutch events, and his own wedding last week, he hasn’t had much time to keep up with the Hot Stove League.
“I didn’t even know he went to the Mariners,” he said in surprise. “For who?”
Informed the Red Sox were getting minor-league pitcher Fabian Williamson, Lester said of Aardsma: “He’s going to help Seattle. I think he’s had some ups and downs from what little I know of his past, but coming to Boston last year I think really helped him, being around a good group of veterans, and being around young guys in our bullpen that were somewhat veterans. I think he definitely learned a lot. Anytime you can go to Boston and somewhat succeed, if not succeed, you can pretty much play or pitch anywhere, maybe with the exception of New York. I think he’s going to really help. He’s got a strong arm, good stuff. If he can stay consistent like he did for us last year… unfortunately, he got hurt last year and tried to rush back and made it worse. If he’s healthy, he’s going to really help the Mariners a lot.”
Noting that Aardsma, a former No. 1 draft pick with the Giants, has struggled with his control throughout his career, Lester added: ” I think that’s the thing I’ve struggled with, and continued to struggled with. As a young guy you always struggle with it until you learn the art of what Tom (Seaver) was talking about, the inner game. Walks are OK sometimes, but other times you need to go after guys and not screw around. That’s where we get in trouble as young guys, trying to get too fine with certain big guys and you end up walking them. I think he’s going to be fine.”



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