BOSTON -- There was never any mystery about Jon Lester's $13 million option. Unless he suffered a major injury, the Red Sox were going to pick it up all along, and they officially did so on Friday.
Considering the option was picked up a couple of days after Lester wrapped up one of the finest postseasons ever by a Boston starter, it seemed one of the great bargains of the offseason.
Lester is happy to know he'll be back in 2014, and sounded like a man who would love to pitch in Boston for the rest of his career.
Perhaps the Red Sox and Lester will discuss an extension as early as this winter.
"Awesome," said Lester of his option being picked up. "I haven't had a chance to talk to [general manager] Ben [Cherington]. But obviously to be back for another year is awesome. Hopefully that's not the only one and we can be here for a long time. We'll worry about that when the time comes."
Right now, Lester is basking in the glow of his team's accomplishment.
As for the back issue that bothered Lester during his gem in Game 5 of the World Series? He no longer feels a thing.
"I don't even feel my body right now," said Lester. "It doesn't matter. I'll worry about how I feel in a couple of weeks when I start working out again."
Red Sox decline option on lefty reliever Thornton
BOSTON -- Acquired in July as left-handed relief insurance, Matt Thornton pitched 15 1/3 innings with a 3.52 ERA for the Red Sox this year, but the team declined his $6 million option for 2014 on Saturday. The buyout will cost them $1 million.
Thornton was traded from the White Sox in exchange for Brandon Jacobs, a 22-year-old outfielder who hit .237 with a .618 OPS at Double-A Birmingham after the trade.
At the time of the deal on July 12, the Red Sox had just one left-handed reliever, Craig Breslow. Thornton, the former White Sox closer, appeared needed. But the emergence of Drake Britton shortly after provided the team with another lefty to use. And by the time the playoffs rolled around, Felix Doubront was merely an extra in the starting rotation and instead added one more left-hander out of the 'pen. Thornton was never included on the playoff roster.
While Thornton's velocity was down slightly again, matching a decline in strikeouts for a fourth straight season, he was still effective against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .235 average.
Thornton joins a class of free-agent lefty relievers that includes J.P. Howell, Boone Logan and Javier Lopez.
Pedroia will have thumb surgery soon
BOSTON -- Now that the season is over, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia can at last get his left thumb repaired.
Pedroia, who sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb while making a head-first dive at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day, expects to have surgery later this month.
"Yeah, probably in a couple of weeks," said Pedroia. "I've got to fly back home to Arizona and get an MRI and see how they're going to do it."
Hand specialist Dr. Donald Sheridan is likely to perform the procedure.
Perhaps the injury impacted Pedroia in the postseason, when he hit .238 with no homers, seven RBIs and a .587 OPS.
But considering the way the season ended, with the Red Sox winning it all, Pedroia wasn't about to complain about playing through injury.
"It's part of the job," Pedroia said. "Everyday players, you go through stuff like this. You've got to try to find a way to manage it. Our training staff was awesome. I just had to limit my swings and do some other things. I found a way to get through it."
During the regular season, Pedroia hit .301 with nine homers and 84 RBIs and played spectacular defense, earning him his third Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
Beards could be here to stay for some Red Sox
BOSTON -- All together, the Red Sox grew their facial hair to extraordinary lengths. The beards came in all shapes and sizes.
But they won't be coming off together.
"I don't know," said Dustin Pedroia. "I think [I'll shave]."
The others didn't seem eager to follow.
Pedroia was the only player who said he'd shave his beard on Saturday morning, as the Red Sox gathered at Fenway Park to prepare for a duck boat parade around the city. The rest of the squad is still undecided, though there has been talk about getting a group of players together to shave their beards for charity.
"Hopefully we can all get together and do it for a good cause," said Will Middlebrooks. "That's what we're leaning towards. We just have to do it together."
Mike Napoli won't be participating. The lumberjack look has been working for him. The free-agent-to-be said he'd be keeping his.
"Yeah, it's part of me now," he said. "I'm going to keep it."
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said he was planning on keeping his too.
None of the Red Sox players showed up Saturday with clean-shaven faces.
Asked if there would be facial hair regulations for the 2014 Red Sox, manager John Farrell said, "Seriously?"
The beards might be here to stay.
Napoli, Saltalamacchia will soon talk business
BOSTON -- The one bittersweet part of any championship parade is that there are always pending free agents on hand.
Two of those players, Mike Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, were more than content to let business play out over the next few weeks. For them, Saturday was a day to completely soak it in.
It was the first World Series championship for both.
Napoli came to Boston as a free agent last winter, with questions about a hip condition.
However, it didn't seem to impact his play at all in 2013, and Napoli hopes to remain in Boston, where he quickly became a core player.
"[Playing in Boston] is great," said Napoli. "People here have been great. It's been fun. I'd like to stay here, but it is what it is. I'm pretty sure we're going to talk and go from there. We're going to enjoy this now."
Saltalamacchia has been with the Red Sox since July 31, 2010, and he has clearly felt at home in Boston. He's been one of the most active players in the community.
"I've just been enjoying this and I'm assuming things will pick up here soon," Saltalamacchia said. "I've said it all year long -- this is a great place to play. It's been a home for me for the past three or four years, and things are going to work out the way they're going to work out. We're just going to have to kind of sit and wait and see."
• Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, who was manager of Triple-A Pawtucket in 2010 and John Farrell's first-base coach in Toronto before returning to Boston with Farrell in 2013, could be the only member of the Red Sox's coaching staff who doesn't return in 2014. Lovullo has been linked to the managerial opening with the Chicago Cubs.
"I think Torey Lovullo is going to have some legitimate opportunities," said Farrell. "And whenever that interview process begins for him, he's deserving, and I certainly promote his next step in his career.
"Whoever else might be involved in that remains to be seen. If Torey doesn't secure another position elsewhere, our whole staff will be back."
• Will Middlebrooks said he's already forgotten about the bizarre ending to Game 3 in which he was called for obstruction as the Cardinals scored the game-winning run.
"Thank God," Middlebrooks said. "I had a guy asking me about it in the clubhouse. I was like, 'I don't know what you're talking about.'
"That was obviously a freak thing. I happened to find myself right in the middle of it. I don't know, that pretty much shows how our team is. Things will happen, things will go wrong, but it's not going to knock us down."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.