Cubs scratch Jon Lester from start with “dead arm”

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Gearing up for the first season of a six-year, $155 million deal with the Cubs, left-hander Jon Lester has been scratched from his scheduled Saturday start with what the team is calling a “dead arm period.”

“Dead arm” is the phrase pitchers and teams tend to use when something clearly isn’t right but there also isn’t a clearcut injury to be found, so it’s typically viewed as relatively minor until proven otherwise. In this case Cubs manager Joe Maddon expressed confidence that Lester will be able to take his next turn in the rotation and make the Opening Day start as planned.

Lester has basically been injury free for the bulk of his career, starting 31 or more games every season since 2008. That includes 32 starts and 220 innings for the Red Sox last year.