Lester named Red Sox Opening Day starter

BOSTON—Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine announced today that left-handed pitcher Jon Lester will be the club’s starter on Opening Day, April 5 in Detroit. 

For Lester, 28, it marks his second straight Opening Day nod, as he also started Boston’s first game of the 2011 season on April 1 in Texas.  He will be the first left-hander to start on Opening Day in back-to-back years for the Red Sox since Mel Parnell started three straight season openers from 1952-54.  A two-time All-Star who was selected by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, Lester’s .691 career winning percentage (76-34) is the third-highest mark since 1900 among Major League pitchers with at least 50 decisions.  He has posted a 3.53 ERA (376 ER/957.2 IP) and recorded 894 strikeouts in 155 games (154 starts) over his six Major League seasons. 

Lester will oppose the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner and MVP Justin Verlander in the April 5th contest which is slated for a 1:05 p.m. ET start.  That game will be televised in New England on NESN and outside of New England on ESPN2.  The game will also air on radio in English on WEEI 93.7 FM/850 AM and network affiliates, and in Spanish on Spanish Béisbol Productions WWZN 1510 AM.

The Red Sox will hold a team workout at Comerica Park on April 4 at 1 p.m.  Media availability for that day will be announced at a later date.