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Jon Lester named Cubs' Opening Day starter

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon has named lefty Jon Lester as his Opening Day starter, with righty Jake Arrieta set to pitch Game 2.

"I had the conversation this morning," Maddon said Thursday. "I called Jon Lester and asked Jonny if he'd mind being the Opening Day starter. He's earned it and deserved it. I also talked to Jake about being the No. 2 guy. Jake understood why we went with Jon first."

It will be Lester's second Opening Day start in three years for the Cubs. Arrieta was the Opening Day starter in 2016 after winning the Cy Young Award the year before.

Lester finished second in Cy Young voting last season after going 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA.

Maddon didn't map out more than the first two games, as Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey are likely to start Games 3 and 4. The mild-mannered Hendricks finished third in NL Cy Young voting last season.

"Kyle was throwing things," Maddon joked. "I saw Lester walk by him and probably said something and all of a sudden stuff was like flying all over the weight room and I knew Jon broke the news to him."

The Cubs won the World Series behind Lester, Arrieta and Hendricks last season. They open 2017 on April 2 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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Maddon picks Lester for Opening Day
Maddon picks Lester for Opening Day
Cubs manager Joe Maddon explains how he told Jon Lester that he would be the starter for the opener.

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