With Jon Lester being injured running the bases on Monday, those that want the DH in both leagues have new fuel for their argument.
The Chicago Cubs had their 2019 home opener Monday afternoon. and veteran left-hander Jon Lester got the start. Entering the game the Cubs had a 6.80 ERA from their starters this season, with Lester’s 3.00 ERA over his first two starts as the bright spot.
In the bottom of the second inning, Lester hit a double with two outs. That gave him two hits on the season, to go with two walks and a .667 batting average. Lester is a reasonably functional hitter, with a home run in each of the last two full seasons and 21 RBI over the last three seasons. But he’s also a 35-year-old pitcher, with his peak as an athlete behind him.
Lester scored on a Ben Zobrist single, sliding into home in the process. He came back out to pitch the top of the third, but he lasted just two batters, allowing back-to-back singles and was pulled for reliever Brad Brach.
It’s nothing arm-related for Lester, but he did leave the game with left hamstring tightness after sliding twice.
Lester has been one of the more durable pitchers around, making at least 31 starts and pitching more than 180 innings in 11 straight seasons coming into 2019. He has also had a sub-4.00 ERA in nine of those campaigns, so he’s been quite good, too.
Making often feeble attempts to swing a bat is one thing, but on the occasions a pitcher does reach base there’s a good chance he’s going to have to run a little. That is an automatic added risk of injury, doing something not related to his primary job.
For what it’s worth, Lester doesn’t appear to have suffered a significant injury. But those that want to argue for the universal DH, which is a potential rule change in the future, just got a bit more fuel for their argument.