Jon Lester pitched five perfect innings in a AA intrasquad game yesterday. He struck out eight, including the last six batters he faced.
Afterwards, he threw a short bullpen session to reach 80 pitches. "I guess it served its purpose ... I was able to get my pitch count up, got the innings and got my work. ... There are no limitations going into the season ..."
Lester left Florida for Tokyo at 7 AM this morning. He's travelling by himself and, unlike his teammates, he'll be flying commercial.
Dan Shaughnessy reports that "this whole jet lag thing is overrated. I know Mike Mussina is still trying to recover from his 2004 trip to Japan with the Yankees, but most Red Sox players should be OK by the time they play the Hanshin Tigers at the Tokyo Dome Saturday afternoon."
Mike Lowell has played in Japan before -- when he was 9 years old. (The Herald posted a picture of the young Doctor.)
Here is a bit of the Sox's busy schedule. ... Terry Francona is hoping for six innings from Tim Wakefield and five from Clay Buchholz in the exhibition games.
Mike Timlin needed two stitches in his right ring finger on Wednesday after a grounder banged off his hand. Terry Francona was unsure if Timlin would be available for the season opener on Tuesday.
Bill Nowlin looks back at games played by the Red Sox outside the United States, including in Arizona before it became a state.