Red Sox hope for resolution on Jon Lester extension before Opening Day

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The Red Sox formally announced a contract extension with slugger David Ortiz last night. Could a deal with left-hander Jon Lester be next?

Well, maybe. According to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said today that the two sides remain in touch about an extension and that he hopes for a resolution on the situation before Opening Day.

“Right now, we’re focused on the conversation this week and trying to resolve it, one way or another,” said Cherington, “without getting into the season. Hopefully, we’re all reasonable enough people that if it made sense (to keep talking), we could reconsider next weekend. But that’s not the thinking right now.”

Lester is currently due to become a free agent next offseason as part of a field which also projects to include Max Scherzer, James Shields, and former teammate Justin Masterson. The 30-year-old has previously said that he would be willing to take a discount to stay with Boston, but chances are it will likely take something in the range of five years and $100 million in order to make it happen.

Lester is coming off a resurgent season in which he posted a 3.75 ERA and 177/67 K/BB ratio over 213 1/3 regular season innings. He was also an important part of the team’s World Series run, putting up a 1.56 ERA in five postseason starts.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.