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Calling Lester a 'keeper,' Big Papi hopes ace stays

Red Sox left-hander mentioned in talks ahead of Thursday's Trade Deadline

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ST. PETERSBURG -- David Ortiz knows there are bound to be many trade rumors in the coming days, with the Red Sox in the rare position of perhaps being a seller leading into Thursday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline.

But he cringes when he hears his longtime teammate Jon Lester mentioned in trade talks.

"Like I always say, I'm just another player here where I've got no choice but to agree with whatever," Ortiz said. "[Working in] the front office is hard to do and they've been talking about trading Jon -- that sounds like a rebuilding, that type of situation. I don't know. There's not much I can say about it but they've probably got their reason to do it."

In last year's World Series, Ortiz's bat and Lester's arm were probably the two biggest components that carried the Red Sox past the Cardinals in six games.

"Hopefully it doesn't happen," said Ortiz. "Lester is one of the best pitchers in the game. That's a keeper."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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