FORT MYERS -- Jon Lester acknowledged Sunday morning - on reporting day for Red Sox pitchers and catchers - that he regrets not being as supportive as possible for his teammates last September when the team failed to make the playoffs. Lester - criticized for eating fried chicken during games - said he plans on making more of an effort on being in the dugout late in games he doesn't pitch.
"I think the biggest thing is I'm ready to move on from it," Lester said. "I've learned from it. It's something I'm not proud of. The biggest thing is you learn from your mistakes. And I'm looking forward to starting new this year and being [a] leader. Just being a better teammate, being on the bench. The starting pitchers do have a lot of stuff to do during the games because the position players take priority.
"We stunk, I stunk and Tampa Bay was better and that's basically how it was. You put that in your filing bank."
Lester also said the team does have a responsiblity of showing the fans that the players do care about winning them back and making up for last year.
"I hope they don't have a different perception of me," he said. "I'm still the same guy, still the same person I was five years ago. I care a lot about this team, I care a lot about my job. I hope fans realize that had nothing to do with what happened on the field. What happened on the field, happened on the field. I stunk, we stunk. We're looking forward to proving people wrong. Last year, everybody wanted to give us the World Series title the first day and this year, I think we come in as underdogs. I think that's going to be fun. It's going to be fun to see how guys react and we go about our business.
"It's one of those things I don't think you'll ever really forget. In baseball, it seems like every year there something you've never seen before. That was one thing I've never really seen. Now that it's over and we're here, and it's a new season, a new start, I'm kind of glad a lot of these guys went through it. I'm glad I went through it. It's going to make us better, it's going to make us stronger to where if we get in a position like that we can reflect back on last year and September and realize we can get through this and play better."
Lester also made a point of saying how much he felt conditioning of the starting staff in between starts had nothing to do with the team's 7-20 September.
"For myself, I don't," Lester said. "I can't speak for everybody because I don't follow everybody around and see what they do on a day-to-day basis. I know the starting staff I see every day in the weight room. We all have the same routine. We're all doing the same things, just on different days. I know for myself, my workouts didn't change. I don't think that was a problem. And from what I saw, I didn't think it was a problem. But that's just my opinion."