Lester ready for Opening Night

Castillo starting season as No. 3 catcher

Lester ready for Opening Night

MESA, Ariz. -- Opening Night starter Jon Lester passed all the tests after Tuesday's Minor League game, even though the Cubs left-hander wasn't happy with his outing.

"He felt great," manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday of Lester, who threw 84 pitches over six innings. "I guess he threw some high-velocity pitches more consistently and accurately than usual. Of course, he wasn't completely satisfied with his outing and feels there's more in the tank, which we all know to be true. Going into Sunday, we'll keep an open mind."

Lester will start the season opener against the Cardinals on Sunday night at Wrigley Field. Maddon expects the lefty to be able to go 95-105 pitches, depending on how difficult the innings are.

• The Cubs will open the season with three catchers, including Welington Castillo, who has been the starter the last two seasons. Maddon met with Castillo to discuss his role as backup to Miguel Montero and David Ross.

Castillo's two-run double

"I told him, I think he's a Major League catcher, we think he's a Major League catcher," Maddon said. "Obviously, it's going to be more difficult to be slotted in than he'd like to be right now. There's a lot of opportunity in the latter part of the game, whether it's pinch-running for somebody else or pinch-hitting, and beyond that getting him some starts.

"Of course, somebody will get injured -- it always happens -- so be ready," Maddon said of his message. "He's still young. He's the kind of guy I don't think we want to lose. That's a premium position to find. You don't shake a tree and find a good catcher. We have three good catchers here and that's really nice."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.