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Video: Jon Lester gets a pickoff in the playoffs


Jon Lester‘s mild case of the yips is well known. It was front and center in the playoffs last year when runners greedily took extra-long leads off first base, knowing he lacked confidence in his ability to throw over to first base. A pickoff for Lester is so notable that it earned a standalone post from us earlier this year when he did it during the regular season.

Lester entered Game 4 of the NLDS on Wednesday in the fifth inning in relief of starter Jake Arrieta. He had pitched three shutout innings when he took the hill in the eighth. The lefty walked Ryan Zimmerman with one out. Zimmerman, unsurprisingly, started taking a big lead off of first base. After falling behind 1-0 to Daniel Murphy, Lester decided to summon up his courage and throw over to first base. He spiked a one-hopper to first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Zimmerman got back to the bag. Lester decided to throw over again. It was a little off the mark, as Rizzo had to reach for it, but he swiped Zimmerman’s left foot. He was ruled safe, but Cubs skipper Joe Maddon challenged the ruling and it was overturned, giving Lester a pickoff in the playoffs.

The Cubs, though, lost Wednesday’s contest 5-0 and will have to battle the Nationals again in a pivotal Game 5 of Thursday.

Jharel Cotton to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.

This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.