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MLB veteran pitcher Jon Lester retires after 16 seasons

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MLB veteran pitcher Jon Lester retires after 16 seasons
Former St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jon Lester, who announced his retirement Wednesday, spent most of his career with the Boston Red Sox. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Veteran pitcher Jon Lester announced his retirement from Major League Baseball on Wednesday, ending a 16-year tenure which included three World Series titles, five All-Star selections and a no-hitter.

Lester told ESPN that his body can no longer handle the long professional baseball season. League sources confirmed Lester's retirement to the Boston Globe.

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"It's kind of run its course," Lester told ESPN. "It's getting harder for me physically. The little things that come up throughout the year turned into bigger things that hinder your performance.

"I'd like to think I'm a halfway decent self-evaluator. I don't want someone else telling me I can't do this anymore. I want to be able to hand my jersey over and say, 'Thank you, it's been fun.' That's probably the biggest deciding factor."

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Lester, 38, spent last season with the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals.

He spent Spring Training with the Nationals, but was traded to the Cardinals in July and became a free agent in November. The veteran left-handed pitcher went 7-6 with a 4.71 ERA in 28 starts in 2021.

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Lester spent his first nine seasons with the Boston Red Sox. He also spent six seasons with the Chicago Cubs and part of one season with the Oakland Athletics.

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He went 200-117 with a 3.66 ERA in 452 career appearances. Lester won a National League-best 18 wins and logged a 3.32 ERA in 32 starts in 2018 for the Cubs.

He finished second in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2016, when he went 19-5 with a career-low 2.44 ERA in 32 starts for the Cubs.

The pitcher helped the Cubs win a World Series and claimed 2016 NLCS MVP honors. He also won titles in 2007 and 2013 with the Red Sox. He threw his no-hitter for the Red Sox in 2008 in a start against the Kansas City Royals.

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