Jon Lester Reportedly May Be Out for Season with Lat Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs reacts on the pitcher's mound during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game One of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester could miss the remainder of the 2017 season after suffering a left lat muscle injury, the Chicago Sun-TimesGordon Wittenmyer reported Thursday.

Lester left Thursday's 13-10 defeat to the Cincinnati Reds in the second inning. He allowed nine runs (seven earned) in 1.2 innings.

Lester has struggled this year, going 8-7 with a 3.99 ERA in 25 starts prior to Thursday's game. According to Baseball Reference, his 3.69 FIP is also his highest since 2012.

Prior to the 2017 season, the left-hander showed the durability and consistency that likely gave the Cubs confidence to sign him to a six-year, $155 million deal. For the ninth straight year, he made 30-plus starts, and he logged 200-plus innings for the eighth time in nine years.

Losing Lester will be a big blow for the Cubs, especially if he's out for a prolonged period of time. Jake Arrieta is having his worst season since breaking out with the Cubs in 2014, while Kyle Hendricks has taken a step backward after his third-place finish in last year's Cy Young voting.

Chicago's National League Central lead slipped to only a game with Thursday's loss. Without Lester, the Cubs will have a fight on their hands to claim the division crown for the second year in a row.