BOSTON (CBS) — Red Sox ace Jon Lester wants to put contract talks on hold until after the season, but the lefty is still confident that he can get a deal done that will keep him in Boston for the foreseeable future.

Lester sat down with WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche ahead of Tuesday night’s loss to the Chicago White Sox, and said he didn’t want any ongoing contract talks to be a distraction to him or his teammates as they battle their way through a rough season.

“I don’t want to say it’s something I can’t control – I can control it. At the same time it’s one of those deals, I use the analogy ‘the elephant in the room.’ We all know it’s there, there’s no point to continually go ‘there’s the elephant.’ I kind of moved on from it after spring training and have put closure on it as far as the talks and all of that,” Lester told Roche.

Lester said tabling the talks will allow him to focus on his job on the mound every fifth day.

“That’s good for me. I’ve always been a black and white thinker; that’s the way my mind works,” he said. “I don’t like the crap in the middle, and when that stuff comes out that’s what gets me flustered. If I can continue to go and we don’t talk about it now, we’ll wait to the offseason. That’s my mentality and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Lester said in spring training that Boston is where he wants to be, and he was willing to take a “home town discount.” The Red Sox reportedly offered him a four-year, $70 million deal, which Lester and his reps turned down.

But the southpaw, who is 9-7 with a 2.73 ERA this season, has hope the two sides can reach a deal when it comes time to resume talks.

“There is no reason not to have hope,” said Lester. “It’s hard for people on the outside to believe, just because you look at the situation and where we’re at… The talks have been amicable and everybody has been good to each other as far as being truthful, being honest and up-front with guys.

“I think we’ve had a bunch of good talks, but right now is not the time to talk about numbers and make that a big distraction for these guys right now. I don’t want to do that, I think it’s selfish on my part,” he said. “There will be a time and a place for it, and hopefully when that time comes we’ll sit down and get it ironed out and it won’t take very long. I’ve always felt like once the season started, it’s not a good distraction to have for the other guys.

“I’ve been, I don’t want to say happy because I would have liked to have had something done in spring training, but I’m fine and I feel like Ben [Cherington] and all the other guys have been fine with our conversations and where we’re at with them,” Lester continued. “When the time and the place comes, we’ll sit down and try to iron it out.”

See Dan Roche’s full sitdown with Jon Lester Sunday night at 11:35 p.m. on WBZ-TV’s Sports Final!


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