Yesterday, at a sparkling, new replica of Fenway Park built atop a swath of desolate swampland, Jon Lester took one small step for a pitcher, one giant leap for a team looking for redemption.

The real redemption begins on April 5 in Detroit, but Lester readily admitted there is an added motivation to the preparation and outlook from him and his fellow starters, who became the focus of what went wrong with the Red Sox last September.

His two innings and 22 pitches against an overmatched Northeastern team, which managed one hit and nothing else, were everything one could expect from a major league ace against a college lineup.

And since living up to expectations is really all the Red Sox, their fans and all their followers expect out of Lester and Josh Beckett [stats], then yesterday amounted to a bright beginning.