Jon Lester Trying Basketball-Inspired Bounce Pass To First To Overcome Throwing Woes

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

For anyone, let alone one of the best baseball players alive, Jon Lester sure is terrible at all the parts of baseball that don’t involve throwing the ball to his catcher.

While he’s managed to improve his hitting from historically bad to downright crappy, his throws around the diamond that don’t count as pitches have not gotten much better.

But he’s trying out a new strategy this spring in an attempt to elevate that part of his game as well. Let’s see how it’s going so far:

That was intentional.

“We’ve been working on the Jordan-to-Pippen bounce pass,” Lester told reporters of his plan with Chicago Cubs third-base coach Brian Butterfield.

“In [Butterfield’s] words, just eliminate all tension and bounce it over there. We’ve been working on it early in the morning. … I don’t really care what it looks like. I don’t care if it bounces 72 times over there. An out’s an out.”

Except in Sunday’s case, an out was an error that put a man on second base. But that’s in part because, unlike regular Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, minor leaguer Efren Navarro didn’t know what was coming.

“I feel bad for the guy today,” Lester added. “He had no idea what’s going on. He’s never been a part of it. With Rizz, probably the surprise wouldn’t have been there.”

The 34-year-old four-time All-Star continues to be just as baffled by the mental block preventing him from making the throw to first as everyone else.

“Obviously, from the outside looking in,” he said on Sunday, “it’s kind of like, ‘Why can’t you do that?’ Like I’ve said many times before, if I knew why, the things wouldn’t be an issue.”

So good for him for keeping an open mind and trying new things. Whatever happens to his throws in the future, they can’t really get much worse.

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