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Jon Lester pulling for Red Sox manager John Farrell

Jon Lester, now with the Cubs, successfully beat cancer when he pitched for the Red Sox.Gene J. Puskar/AP

CHICAGO — The shocking news that Red Sox manager John Farrell was facing Stage 1 lymphoma reverberated all the way to Chicago, specifically for Cubs pitcher Jon Lester, as he has firsthand knowledge of what his former manager is going through.

Lester was treated for lymphoma in 2006 and 2007 when he played for the Red Sox. Upon hearing the news, he tweeted a message of support for Farrell and the two also talked.

“Obviously we go pretty far back,” Lester said Friday. “He seems pretty positive, everything seems pretty positive, so that is good.’’

Lester was pleased that Farrell would receive treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. “He is in a good place for it,” Lester said. “Obviously that is one of the better places if not the best place in the country to be if you do have cancer so he is in good hands. I know those doctors pretty well.”

Lester added there was no way for Farrell to prepare for what is in front of him.


“It is just one of those things you just have to ride out. You have to do what the doctors tell you to do,” Lester said. “I don’t know the details of what he is going to be going through and I don’t know the type. I just know it is lymphoma and it could be a million different things. It sounded pretty curable and it sounded pretty positive from what I read and saw and that is the most important thing.

“But I don’t think you can ever prepare for a situation like that. You just have to grind through it.”

Lester added he did not think it was necessary to offer Farrell any advice. “If you know John, he is pretty strong-willed so I would imagine he’ll be fine,” Lester said. “I’m sure it is a little bit of a blow for his family, but I’m sure he will be fine through this process.”


In 2008, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo also battled lymphoma when he was in the Red Sox system.

“It’s tough, but I think the Red Sox are 2 for 2 with recent lymphoma diagnoses in Stage 1,” Rizzo said. “Any type of cancer is bad but I am confident the doctors in Boston will pull him through and he will have a speedy recovery.”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he goes back more than 20 years with Farrell, including their time as AL East rivals when Maddon managed the Tampa Bay Rays.

“He’s a wonderful guy, I wish him well,” Maddon said.

“I know he is going to be fine, but it really makes you take a step back.”