Jon Lester insists extra rest afforded him was precautionary

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Red Sox starter Jon Lester reiterated to reporters earlier that the team’s decision to have him make his second-half debut on Tuesday was simply precautionary rather than due to an injury. After a strong start to the season, Lester has hit the skids, posting a 6.27 ERA in his last 11 starts.

Lester threw a 35-pitch bullpen today, then spoke to the media about the extra rest afforded him. Via WEEI’s Alex Speier:

“We have the opportunity to do it, so, sitting down and talking about it, we felt like it was a good time. We moved it to Tuesday, and everything’s fine,” said Lester. “Just getting ready for Tuesday. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing crazy. Just kind of a normal day in the life of me.”

Lester also refused to blame his struggles on any kind of injury. The lefty will oppose Roberto Hernandez of the Rays on Tuesday.

Giants sign Austin Jackson to two-year, $6 million contract

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The Giants announced on Monday night the signing of outfielder Austin Jackson. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, it’s a two-year, $6 million deal with performance incentives that allow Jackson to earn up to an additional $2.5 million for a total of $8.5 million.

Jackson, who soon turns 31 years old, spent last season with the Indians. In 318 plate appearances, he hit .318/.387/.482 with seven home runs, 35 RBI, and 46 runs scored.

The Giants have been on the hunt for a center fielder and Jackson addresses that need relatively cheaply. Jackson will join Hunter Pence and newcomer Andrew McCutchen in the outfield.