FORT MYERS, Fla. — With all the bright, sunshiny stories emanating from Red Sox camp this spring, it’d be easy to overlook the teeny tiny problem of the team not having a complete pitching rotation with just three weeks left until opening day.
With the fifth and final starting spot still up for grabs, 24-year-old left-hander Felix Doubront finds himself right in the mix.
Doubront will take the hill Tuesday night against the Yankees for his second appearance of the spring. He’ll be looking to improve on his last appearance, when he allowed three hits, threw walks and two earned runs in two innings of relief for Josh Beckett against the Cardinals.
Saltalamacchia Discusses Doubront:
While it’s still the spring, Tuesday’s outing against the Bombers will be an important step for Doubront to make if he wants to find himself in the rotation, and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said the lefty’s success is dependent on location.
“He’s got great stuff,” Saltalamacchia told WBZ NewsRadio 1030‘s Jonny Miller. “Looking for him to go out there, be aggressive, get ahead early and go after these guys.”
Regarding his chance to make the rotation, Doubront told Miller that he’s not worried about that just yet.
“It’s a lot of competition,” Doubront said. “I have to wait for the manager’s and the front office’s decision, but I feel good. I’m very confident.”
Doubront should feel confident, at least because he has no remaining options. The Red Sox wouldn’t want to risk losing a young lefty through waivers, so his spot on the roster is relatively secure heading into the season. Beyond that, though, there is the still-untapped potential of Doubront that should have both him and the team excited for his future.
“He’s got all the potential in the world — lefty with stuff that moves,” Saltalamacchia told Miller. “He’s got three or four pitches that when he finally figures to get command — good command — with all four of them rather than two or three right now …he’s a guy that can easily be a starter in this rotation and win a lot of games for us.”
Doubront’s gotten the chance to start for the big club, starting three games for Boston in 2010 and going 1-2 with a 4.11 ERA. Last year represented a step backward, when he posted a 6.10 ERA in 10.1 innings in relief, while going 2-5 with a 4.22 ERA in Triple-A Pawtucket.
Whatever ends up happening for Doubront this year, the young Venezuelan is approaching his outings without fear.
“No, no. Never,” Doubront said when asked if he has any fear on the mound. “You can’t have fear in this game.”