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Originally published Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 8:27 PM

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Boston's Lester hopes for big comeback year

As bad as 2012 was for the Boston Red Sox, it was equally bad for Jon Lester. So, count him among the many players itching to get back at...

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — As bad as 2012 was for the Boston Red Sox, it was equally bad for Jon Lester. So, count him among the many players itching to get back at it.

Lester, a left-hander from Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, went 9-14 with a career-high 4.82 earned-run average last year. That he posted a team-high 17 quality starts only highlighted the frustration that enveloped the team all season. In the second half, Lester was 4-8 with a 5.23 ERA. As a result, he became one of the poster boys for a team that symbolized dysfunction. The Red Sox finished 69-93 and in last place in the AL East.

So Lester, 29, who is entering his eighth season, knows many eyes will be on him this season. And without veteran Josh Beckett, among other familiar faces, in the Boston rotation this year, he knows what his role is.

"I love it. It's great. Bring it on," he said Wednesday, a day after pitchers and catchers reported to JetBlue Park. "Because what you guys expect of me is nothing (compared to what) I expect of myself. I expect a lot."

Boston manager John Farrell, who was the Red Sox pitching coach from 2007 to 2010, could be a key. After two years as manager in Toronto, he is back with the Red Sox and Lester, who had some of his best seasons during Farrell's previous tenure.


• New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, 43, said he's reached a decision on whether this will be his final season and plans to announce it before opening day. Baseball's career saves leader had surgery June 12 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He expects to be ready for the regular season.

• Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli said he consulted with Biogenesis after a foot injury but did not receive any treatment from the South Florida facility.

• The Pittsburgh Pirates signed infielder Brandon Inge to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

• A lawyer for Barry Bonds urged a federal appeals court in San Francisco to toss out the slugger's obstruction of justice conviction, saying a rambling answer he gave while testifying before a grand jury was not a crime.

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