Jon Lester and David Ross have been collectively once more at Wrigley Subject on Monday. The outdated pals bumped into one another on a concourse and shared a giant hug.
“I believe I instructed him I might inform him good luck however I wouldn’t imply it. He laughed,” Ross mentioned. “He appears to be like nice. … I like the man, so it’s simply good to see him.”
It was a day full of heat and awkwardness as Lester and Kyle Schwarber returned to Chicago with the Washington Nationals for the opener of a four-game collection towards their former workforce.
The Cubs honored Schwarber with a pregame spotlight video that included the slugger’s large homer towards St. Louis in the course of the 2015 playoffs, a drive that landed on high of the scoreboard in proper discipline. Schwarber took his hat off and waved as the gang stood and cheered.
Schwarber heard one other loud ovation when he walked to the plate within the first. He exchanged just a few phrases with Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, after which waved his batting helmet to acknowledge the gang.
“There was plenty of particular instances made right here,” Schwarber mentioned earlier than the sport. “A number of particular instances for myself, my household.”
Lester additionally was greeted with a standing ovation when he walked out to the mound for the underside of the primary. The left-hander took his hat off briefly in appreciation, after which rapidly went again to his warmup routine.
The Cubs plans to indicate a Lester tribute video earlier than Tuesday’s recreation.
Lester’s December 2014 take care of the Cubs in free company was a contact level within the franchise’s rise from the underside of the standings to World Sequence champion. Schwarber, a first-round decide by Chicago in 2014, additionally performed a giant function when the Cubs received all of it 5 years in the past for the primary time since 1908.
Requested what Lester dropped at Chicago that is still with the workforce immediately, Ross joked about Lester’s fondness for Miller Lite. Then Ross, the present supervisor of the Cubs and former catcher for the lefty, turned critical.
“I believe he introduced a championship mentality and a preparation and onerous work that he anticipated daily, that he held himself accountable for and that he was introduced up understanding the right way to do, he introduced that right here,” Ross mentioned, “and successful adopted.”
Lester went 77-44 with a 3.64 ERA in 171 begins for Chicago, and the workforce made the playoffs 5 instances in his six years with the franchise. He talked about returning and the way a lot it could imply to earn profession win No. 200 with the Cubs, however the sides weren’t in a position to work it out and he finalized a $5 million, one-year take care of the Nationals in January.
The 37-year-old Lester received the ball for the collection opener, and a laughing Ross mentioned it was “extraordinarily, extraordinarily awkward” to game-plan for the pitcher.
“He is a giant cause why this franchise become a successful franchise,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo mentioned.
Schwarber rapidly turned a fan favourite after he was promoted to the majors in 2015, flashing tape-measure energy on the plate. He damage his left knee early within the 2016 season, however he returned in time to function the designated hitter for the World Sequence video games in Cleveland and hit .412 (7 for 17) with two RBIs to assist the Cubs win the title.
The 28-year-old Schwarber was non-tendered by Chicago in December, and he signed a $10 million, one-year take care of Washington. Whereas he has moved on along with his new workforce, he stays keen on his first huge league membership.
“There’s plenty of issues right here that made me the particular person I’m immediately and the ballplayer I’m immediately,” Schwarber mentioned. “There’s issues that you simply undoubtedly hold with you and so it is onerous to neglect, as a result of that is the place you got here up, that is the place you grew up within the huge leagues.”