Jon Lester said he felt like a "caged animal" before his last start.
The Chicago Cubs left-hander should feel right at home Wednesday when he takes on the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park.
Lester, a native of nearby Tacoma, Wash., will be making his second start since a stint on the 10-day injured list caused by a left hamstring strain.
In his first start back, Lester (1-1, 2.37 ERA) pitched well but still took the loss in a 2-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. Lester allowed one run on four hits in five innings, with no walks and five strikeouts.
"I thought he looked really good for being out as long as he has been," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I thought the velocity was there. I thought the finish on the pitches was there and the off-speed stuff was there. He pitched really well."
Lester was making his first start in 17 days.
"Felt fine. Felt normal," Lester told MLB.com. "It's very tough, especially when you're used to pitching every five days. It's kind of like a caged animal for a couple of days there. Just really didn't know what to do with myself. It's a testament to our training staff. They kept pushing me and I kept pushing them. I got back a little bit sooner than I think everybody thought, so (that's) always good."
Lester praised the other members of the Cubs' rotation for picking up the slack during his absence.
"They did a great job," Lester told MLB.com. "Cole (Hamels) and Q (Jose Quintana), Kyle (Hendricks) kind of hit his stride there. (Yu) Darvish down in Miami threw the heck out of the ball. Chat (Tyler Chatwood) the other day was unbelievable. I was just glad not to mess that momentum up and keep going."
In 13 career starts against the Mariners, Lester is 6-4 with a 3.27 ERA.
Lester will go up against Seattle left-hander Marco Gonzales (5-0, 2.80), who is tied for the major league lead in wins with the New York Yankees' Domingo German, Tampa Bay's Tyler Glasnow and Arizona's Zack Greinke.
Gonzales was the first pitcher to five wins, beating Texas 14-2 on Thursday with seven scoreless innings. He also became the first in franchise history to win that many before the end of April.
"It's a good start," Gonzales told MLB.com. "I've always been a firm believer in it's not how you start, it's how you finish. I just want to keep that momentum going. I've really been happy with what my pitches have been doing lately, and I want to keep that feeling going."
Gonzales is 8-3 with a 3.23 ERA in 22 career appearances at T-Mobile Park and hasn't allowed a home run in seven straight home starts, one shy of the team record set by Aaron Sele in 2000-01.
"Marco is a very good competitor," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He's got four quality pitches, and when he gets them all going and mixes them, the sequences of his pitches is awesome. The back and forth, in and out, the cutter has been a big weapon for him. He's a complete package. He's a good fielder, he holds runners well, But ultimately it comes down to his competitiveness. He's a tough nut out there."
The Cubs won the opener of the two-game series 6-5 Tuesday night on Kyle Schwarber's two-run homer in the eighth inning.
--Field Level Media
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