Cubs coach Brian Butterfield is a veteran observer of Jon Lester's long-running battles with throwing to bases.
Butterfield, who came over from the Red Sox to coach third base this season, recalled working with Lester on his throws at Red Sox camp.
"We went on field 109 where there was nobody," Butterfield said Monday morning at Cubs camp. "He's always been a good student of the game and has always wanted to do everything well."
The Lester throwing issue cropped up again on Sunday when he made an error on a ball hit back to him, throwing a multiple-hop bouncer to first. The Cubs want Lester to bounce his throws instead of risking an errant toss, and he's been working on it with Butterfield this spring.
Lester referred to it as the "Jordan-to-Pippen bounce pass," but Butterfield said it wasn't his line.
"I probably would've used McHale and Bird," he said, referring to former Celtics stars Kevin McHale and Larry Bird.
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They "tinkered" with the bounce pass in Boston, Butterfield said, and now they're working on it again.
Butterfield said it's more difficult for pitchers to throw to bases "because they've made a living out of long arm action," namely throwing pitches off the mound.
"Jon is not alone," he said. "He might struggle a little bit throwing short-range throws."
But that doesn't explain why Lester is so much worse at it than his peers.