It’s only spring training. Those words are muttered countless times year in and year out as some players thrive in camp while others fizzle out. The reason? It’s actually quite true. Spring training means a variety of things for a variety of players. For minor leaguers invited to major league camp, it’s a chance to lay the groundwork for a big league call-up. For veterans, it’s a chance to get back into the swing of things. And for those battling injuries, it’s a chance to get healthy before tackling the grind of a 162-game slate. Lester lands mostly in the “veterans” category, but despite his impressive track record, this spring holds a little bit more importance in the wake of 2012′s disaster. Rather than simply “getting back into the swing of things,” the left-hander is working on reverting back to what made him a bona fide ace from 2008 to 2011. “The simplest way to describe it is my hand is on top of the ball rather than the wrist being underneath the ball and pushing the ball,” Lester told reporters when describing the mechanics he’s trying to get back to. “And that was something we fell into last year with a whole bunch of things we don’t have time to get into that created that pushing of the ball.” Technicalities aside, Lester is, in essence, working toward changing what clearly didn’t work in 2012. That’s why when the results are similar to Sunday’s, it’s especially encouraging. A great season often starts with great preparation, so while we shouldn’t get too crazy about Lester’s two perfect innings against the Cardinals on Sunday, it’s OK to feel good about where the lefty is at in terms of getting ready for a bounce-back year. Lester didn’t allow a run, hit or walk in the Red Sox’ 5-3 win, and he struck out Carlos Beltran to end the first of his two innings. Lester threw all fastballs and one changeup — something he said was designed to get his feet under him — but we did see some positives, such as his pitch location when jamming Rafael Furcal to induce an easy popup.

Read more at: http://nesn.com/2013/02/jon-lester-impressive-in-spring-debut-must-keep-working-toward-returning-to-ace-status-for-red-sox/