SEATTLE (AP) -In the span of a week, the homecoming of Boston pitcher Jon Lester went from being a footnote to the centerpiece everyone wanted to talk about.
``It's been crazy,'' the 24-year-old native of Tacoma, Wash., said.
Lester walked in the front door of his parents' home, about 35 miles south of Seattle, on Sunday night the proud owner of a no-hitter. If that didn't make enough front-page news, his father's current battle against cancer also became public knowledge over the weekend.
``I really haven't had time to do much other than show up to the field talk to the media and go work out. That's kind of been my routine lately,'' Lester said before the Red Sox opened a three-game series against the Mariners on Monday night. ``It's kind of calming down. After today things will probably get back to normal and I'll resume my normal routine.''
In an ESPN interview that aired Sunday, Lester revealed that his father, John, was diagnosed with a highly treatable form of lymphoma about a month ago. The pitcher missed part of the 2007 season after being diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
He returned late last season to go 4-0 in 11 starts late in the regular season, then got the Game 4 victory as Boston completed a World Series sweep of Colorado last October.
If those accomplishments didn't already make Lester a cult hero in Red Sox's lore, he added the 18th no-hitter in Red Sox's history in a 7-0 win over Kansas City on May 19. Even a week later, Lester has yet to watch his entire performance against the Royals, viewing only highlights.
``It's been crazy just worrying about my next start. I'm sure things won't really hit home until after the season,'' he said.
Lester addressed a large throng of media in hopes of taking attention and media pressure off his dad. The Lester's family home in Puyallup was inundated with calls after the story broke.
``I haven't seen him since (now) and he's doing really well,'' Lester said. ``He's handling the treatments well and everything is going good.''
One benefit the family has is learning from Lester's experiences during the 2006 offseason. Lester said his dad has an understanding of what to expect from each treatment and ways to prepare himself for handling symptoms the treatments bring.
The Red Sox three-game swing through Seattle is Lester's first trip home since Christmas and the first time he'd seen his dad in person since spring training. Lester brought along a World Series hat for his dad to wear to Monday night's game, but he said his father already was wearing too much Boston gear.
``He really doesn't look much different, except no hair,'' Lester said. ``That's about the only thing different. He's just the same old dad.''
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