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Cubs’ Jon Lester to finish spring with controlled minor-league starts

MESA, Ariz. — Cubs ace Jon Lester, who missed his last start because of “dead-arm” syndrome, will make his final two starts of the spring in minor-league games, manager Joe Maddon said.
“We just want to be able to control what he’s doing,” Maddon said. “For instance, if he’s having a long inning, just flip it over, come on into the dugout, let the other team play. …

“I’m not concerned who he pitches against. He just needs somebody standing up there so he gets the requisite number of pitches thrown. If he says he feels good I feel good.”

Pitching coach Chris Bosio said Lester, who reached 70 pitches in a start before the skipped start, will be on a 60-pitch limit in his next start, Thursday.

He would be on roughly an 80-pitch limit five days later, Maddon said, adding that would be enough for him to consider Lester ready for his Opening Night start, barring a setback.

“He might be somewhat restricted regarding length in that first game,” Maddon said.