Lester picked to start season opener for Red Sox

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BOSTON (AP) -- Boston pitcher Jon Lester has been picked to start opening day for the Red Sox on April 5 in Detroit.

New Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine made the announcement Monday.

The 28-year-old also started Boston's first game of the 2011 season in Texas. He will be the first left-hander to start on opening day in back-to-back years for the Red Sox since Mel Parnell started three straight openers from 1952-54.

A two-time All-Star who was selected by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2002 amateur draft, Lester is 76-34 with a 3.53 ERA and 894 strikeouts in six seasons.

Lester will oppose Detroit's Justin Verlander.