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FIRST, CANCER; NOW, THE AL

The only remaining sign of Jon Lester's bout with cancer is the wristband on his right wrist, which reads "No. 62 Striking Out Cancer."

Lester, 23, wore No. 62 in September, when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. After six rounds of chemotherapy and 17 minor-league starts, he beat Cleveland 6-2 on Monday. Tonight, he faces the Rays.

"(Monday) happened so fast that it really didn't have a chance to sink in," he said. "But right now, it feels good."

Lester, now wearing No. 31 and who has checkups every three months, said he never doubted he would return.

"I didn't know if I was going to be back this year, next year or the year after," he said. "But I knew at some point, I'd be back pitching."

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