LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – Jon Lester’s doctors have told him he’s cancer-free from lymphoma, and the Boston Red Sox pitcher is planning to report to training camp on time.

“It was my expectation from the beginning to be at spring training at some point,” Lester said Tuesday. “Now that everything is looking good and ready to go, I’m ready to be there on the reporting day that pitchers and catchers need to be there.”

Lester won his first five starts as a rookie this year and was 7-2 with a 4.76 ERA when he was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma at the end of August, ending his season.

Lester underwent four courses of chemotherapy before a scan came up clean.

“I’m cancer-free right now. That’s it. I have one more treatment Dec. 21 and then I’ll be done,” Lester told reporters on a conference call. “It really hasn’t sunk in yet. When Dec. 21 comes around, it will start sinking in then. It really won’t hit home until spring training.”

Red Sox pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., on Feb. 16.

The 22-year-old lefty threw for the first time on Monday, and has been lifting weights to try to keep in shape; he has lost about 10 pounds.

“Nothing strenuous, nothing too difficult,” he said.

Lester has been one of Boston’s top prospects since he was drafted in 2002, one frequently requested by other teams in trade talks. But doctors discovered enlarged lymph nodes when Lester was tested to determine the cause of back pain that sent him to the disabled list on Aug. 28.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said at baseball’s winter meetings that he has been in touch with Lester and called the prognosis “probably the most important thing that could happen down here.”

“So, from where I sit, the meetings are already a success,” Francona said.

AP-ES-12-05-06 1907EST


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