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Jon Lester Throws In Minor-League Game

Here are photos and video from the Cubs lefthander's appearance Thursday morning.

MESA, Arizona -- In front of about 60 fans, Cubs brass, media and other Cubs players who weren't even in the game, Jon Lester threw 55 pitches and looked just fine (from this amateur observer's standpoint).

I stayed for three innings. Lester retired the first seven hitters he faced, then allowed a walk and a single before getting out of the inning with a nicely-turned double play (the first-base umpire originally signaled "safe" before being overruled -- even with no replay review!).

David Ross caught Lester in this game. Even from watching just three innings from Ross up close, I can tell he's got excellent leadership qualities. He was constantly shouting out encouragement or instructions to everyone on the field, including Lester, even during Lester's warmups.

Nothing's official yet, but based on what I saw, I don't see any reason why Lester wouldn't make one more Cactus League start. His turn would come up Tuesday against the Rangers at Surprise, after which he'd be exactly on target to start Opening Night against the Cardinals.

Here's a short video I took of a couple of at-bats against Lester.