SAN DIEGO -- Most everyone in baseball accepts that this will indeed by David Ortiz's last season, as he's vowed.
Those who see Ortiz and his physical struggles and limitations due to aching feet and suspect heels understand that Ortiz is sincere about his retirement.
But some -- including former teammate Jon Lester -- aren't entirely convinced.
"I still don't 100 percent believe that this is it for him,'' said Lester, now with the Chicago Cubs. "But I'll guess we'll see come next spring training. I'm just happy for him. He's been a part of this game for a long time and been the fact of this game for a long time. I'm sure that wears on you as a person and a family guy like he is.
"I'm sure he's ready to go home, but like I said, I'll believe it come next spring training.''
Even from the other league and with some distance from the Red Sox, Lester is awed by the kind of season Ortiz is having at 40.
"To see the numbers,'' said Lester, "it's pretty amazing what he's still able to do, day in and day out. Really nothing surprises me with David. It's always something. He always pulls out the amazing at the right time. It's fun to watch, as always, with him.''
Lester was teammates with Xander Bogaerts in 2013, and briefly with Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts before departing Boston as the trade deadline in 2014 and has nothing but positives to say about the new core of the Red Sox.
"I didn't really get to be around Mookie too much,'' noted Lester, who was only with the Sox about a month after Betts made his debut. "Obviously, the hype was there. I still keep tabs on those guys and pay attention and what he's been able to do in the last few years is pretty impressive.
"Obviously, we all saw what Xander was able to do (in the 2013) World Series. It's a good group. And I'm really happy for Jackie. He took a hell of a beating there for a couple of years. For him to put in the work and the time and the effort to get where he's at now, I'm sure for him it's very rewarding. It's nice to see. We all know the defensive talent was there, but to see him find his offensive side is awesome.''