Jon Lester Comments on Bone Chip in Throwing Elbow

Daniel Kramer@dkramer_Featured ColumnistMarch 20, 2016

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester throws during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

One alarming concern for the Chicago Cubs is a bone chip in Jon Lester's throwing elbow.

On Friday, Lester said it's been a "non-issue," according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times:

It's just a matter of hopefully it stays put, and we don't have any worry about it. And then if it does become a concern, if I start having inflammation or missing starts because of it, then that's when we'll probably sit down and talk to somebody about getting it removed.

As of now, knock on wood, I haven't had any concern with it.

Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan first reported the chip existed in his new book, The Arm, which is set to be released in April. The book, which discusses the epidemic of elbow injuries suffered by pitchers, chronicles Lester's path to joining the Cubs.

Lester's bone chip was discovered when he underwent an MRI in 2014, well before the Cubs signed him to a six-year, $155 million deal in December of that year.

Passan reported (h/t Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic) that Lester's ulnar collateral ligament—the tissue that, when torn, requires Tommy John surgery—looked fine. Passan noted that "at some point it would warrant surgery," though doctors weren't recommending it at the time.

Lester is fearful that surgery could spark a separate injury.

"It's kind of one of those deals if it's not bothering you, don't mess with it," he said, per Wittenmyer. "You start getting cut on and doing rehab, and that's when maybe they're in there, taking that bone chip out, and it puts more stress on something else. You don't know. If-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it-type thing."

Lester, who has a track record of good health, was upfront about the issue with the Cubs, who weren't fazed, per Passan.

The North Siders are a little more than two weeks away from embarking on one of their most highly anticipated seasons in recent memory.

Coming off a 97-win campaign in 2015 that culminated with a berth in the National League Championship Series, expectations are sky-high for the franchise that hasn't won a title since 1908.

Last year, Lester was overshadowed by NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta, who emerged as the ace by the All-Star break. But the hard-hurling lefty will be as vital as any other piece of the team if it hopes to make another lengthy run in October.