Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jon Lester, who signed with the team this off-season in free agency, is expected to miss at least a week as he recovers from surgery to remove a thyroid gland. File Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., March 3 (UPI) -- Washington Nationals pitcher Jon Lester has left the team's spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., to have thyroid gland removed in New York City, manager David Martinez said Wednesday.
"If everything goes well, he'll be back," Martinez told reporters on a Zoom video conference. "Hopefully, he can pitch again in about a week. We wanted him to get it taken care of now so it's not an issue."
Lester, 37, was scheduled to start for the Nationals against the New York Mets on Thursday in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The Nationals host the Miami Marlins on Wednesday in West Palm Beach.
The five-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion joined the Nationals in January as a free agent.
Martinez said Lester felt fatigued during spring training. The team and Lester then reviewed medical test results and spoke to a doctor Tuesday and opted to have the surgery.
Martinez said he expects Lester to be away from the team for at least five to seven days. The team will reevaluate that timeline based on how the left-handed pitcher feels during his recovery.
"[Lester] feels like once they take [the thyroid gland] out, he will have a lot more energy," Martinez said. "I hope it works out for him, I really do. He is a big part of what we do here and we love having him. He has been working his tail off."
The Nationals plan of having Lester ready for his first scheduled start of the season. The 15-year veteran had a 5.16 ERA and 3-3 record in 12 starts last season for the Chicago Cubs.
Lester also was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma during his 2006 rookie campaign with the Boston Red Sox. He had chemotherapy and returned to the team the next season. He has been healthy since that diagnosis.