Jon Lester comes through with a big glove save
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BY TONI GINNETTI
For the Sun-Times
The second inning Sunday was a memorable one for starter Jon Lester. And it wasn’t because of the two-run homer he gave up to Will Middlebrooks.
Rather, the highlight-worthy moment came with one out and a man on first when Clint Barmes hit a ball up the middle that Lester stabbed but couldn’t pick out of his glove. So he threw the whole glove to first baseman Anthony Rizzo for the out.
‘‘It’s not something you draw up,’’ Lester said. ‘‘I was surprised I caught the ball, and then when you go to grab it, it’s not there. It was a mad scramble to see what was going on there.’’
Rizzo quickly sized up the situation and dropped his glove to catch Lester’s.
‘‘I think he knew [what was going to happen] when he dropped his glove,’’ Lester said. ‘‘I would have liked to get the double play there, but you settle for an out. You just hope when you throw the glove like that, the ball stays in. It was one of those weird things in baseball.’’
Kris Bryant seems to be getting used to major-league pitching.
After an 0-for-4 debut Friday, Bryant was 2-for-3 with three walks Saturday and 1-for-3 with a double Sunday.
‘‘The first game they were throwing a lot of off-speed stuff. I realized if I keep swinging at that, they’ll keep throwing it,’’ Bryant said. ‘‘I realized what my strengths are. Pitchers can’t throw strikes all the time.’’
Manager Joe Maddon said the heralded prospect handled his debut well.
‘‘I thought he did a great job,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘His at-bats kept getting better.’’
‘‘I’m sure things will start to settle down now and I’ll just be a guy on the team,’’ Bryant said. ‘‘That’s what I want.’’
Middle reliever Jason Motte’s string of five scoreless appearances ended when he gave up a two-run homer in the seventh to Yangervis Solarte.
‘‘He’s done really well,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘He’s a professional and stays ready. He doesn’t complain. He’s really a vibrant member of the team because he keeps everyone loose.’’
Motte had a rough spring, allowing 10 runs in 7 ⅔ innings. In the regular season, he had no walks, three strikeouts and a hold in four innings before Sunday.
‘‘What I like about him is he gets out lefties as a right-hander,’’ Maddon said of Motte, who had Tommy John surgery a year ago and returned to pitch in 29 games for the Cardinals. ‘‘It provides more matchup potential. He’s done great, and I think if you don’t overuse him, he’s going to do that all year.’’
Herrera’s at second for now
Switch-hitting Jonathan Herrera has made the last four starts at second base over Arismendy Alcantara.
‘‘He’s playing well, had good at-bats and he’s playing well defensively,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘It’s not anything more complicated than that. I like Alcantara on the bench to do different things.’’
Alcantara pinch hit in the sixth for catcher David Ross, then remained in the game at second.
Right-handed pitcher Gonzalez Germen was called up, and outfielder Matt Szczur was optioned to Class AAA Iowa. Szczur had been used sparingly in eight games, going 2-for-10.
‘‘We were short in the bullpen, and we knew we might need fresh arms,’’ Maddon said.
To make room for Germen on the 40-man roster, pitcher Jacob Turner (right shoulder inflammation) was moved to the 60-day disabled list.