Washington Nationals pitcher Jon Lester is leaving spring training to have surgery for the removal of his thyroid gland, manager Dave Martinez said Wednesday, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN).
"Hopefully he can pitch again in about a week," Martinez said. "We want him to get it taken care of now so it's not an issue."
Lester was initially scheduled to make his spring training debut on Thursday, but after additional tests, the decision was made for him to undergo surgery. He will travel to New York for the procedure and still is set to open the season on his scheduled day, Martinez said.
"That's the big issue. I feel like once they get this out, he'll have a lot more energy throughout the day," he said. "I hope it works out for him. I really do. He's a big part of what we do here, and we love having him. He's been working his tail off, day in and day out, and I know he's going to help us."
During his rookie season with the Boston Red Sox in 2006, the left-hander was diagnosed with a form of lymphoma. He underwent chemotherapy and returned for the 2007 campaign.
Lester signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Nationals after spending the last six seasons with the Chicago Cubs. During the pandemic-shortened season, the 37-year-old went 3-3 with a 5.16 ERA, 1.328 WHIP and 42 strikeouts in 61 innings.