Pedroia: No words to express what Lester means to me

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia took the news hard that former teammate and close friend Jon Lester was signing with the Chicago Cubs rather than returning to Boston.

“There [aren’t] words that I can tell you for you to understand how much Jon and his family mean to me and my family,” he wrote in a text message to ESPNBoston.com on Monday. “I was his host on his recruiting trip at [Arizona State], and played with him every step of the way. His focus every day was for his teammates and winning. I'm going to miss playing with him and going through the grind with him. When he called me and told me, the things he said were just proof of why he is the best.”

Pedroia and Lester spoke countless times during Lester’s free-agency period, with the second baseman putting on the full-court press to try to convince the lefty to return to Boston. Lester said at his introductory press conference in Chicago on Monday that the most difficult call he made was to Pedroia to tell him he was choosing the Cubs.

“I’d say that was the hardest,” Lester told reporters. “I wanted to call the guys that meant the most to me while I was there. And that’s what makes Pedey so great. He’ll call you one minute and cuss you out about coming back and you call him a few hours later and you’re shedding tears with him. Those guys I'll love and consider my brothers until I'm dead. But yeah, that one was probably the most difficult.”

Lester said they had some interesting talks along the way.

“In the end, he’s a good friend of mine. He’ll always be a good friend of mine. He had nothing but good things to say. He understands the process. As sad as I was to leave those guys, he was just as excited for me,” said Lester.