BOSTON -- Red Sox pitcher Felix Doubront has experienced it all in his first full season as a starter at the major-league level.
The 24-year-old left-hander mostly has enjoyed success, but he’s also had his low points in 2012. Through it all he’s learned to be a better pitcher and should be an important part of Boston’s starting rotation for years to come.
On Sunday, Doubront had his best start of the season, and even though he had to settle for a no-decision, the Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 2-1. He worked seven masterful innings and allowed only one run on four hits and posted a career-high 11 strikeouts.
Former Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez was in attendance and thoroughly impressed with what he saw from Doubront.
“He watched the game that day and told me, ‘Man, you were amazing,’” Doubront said.
Martinez told Doubront he liked the way the left-hander approached opposing hitters and how effectively his changeup complimented his fastball.
“He was good and he told me good things about my performance that day and that made me happy,” Doubront said. “When you’re hearing that stuff from that guy who’s a great pitcher and a great person, you kind of appreciate that.”
“It was great,” Martinez said of watching Doubront’s outing on Sunday. “The only thing is, he’s getting into a little pattern that I used to have where he will have a great game and not have run support. But that got the best of me and made me limit my mistakes during the game, and I think it will help him have battles like that where he really has to earn his wins on his own.
“He has the makeup of an ace. He reminded me a lot about how I used to be.”
Martinez has been in town for a variety of reasons this week, including the “Celebration of Life” ceremony for the late Johnny Pesky, which took place following Sunday’s game on the field at Fenway Park. The entire 2012 team attended, along with many former players.
The ceremony began with each current player walking alongside a former player in a procession from the team’s dugout on the first-base side to the stands beyond the third-base dugout.
Doubront was told he would be walking out with Pedro, but he thought that meant teammate Pedro Ciriaco and not Pedro Martinez.
“I was in shock,” Doubront said.
Doubront said he and Martinez have talked on a few other occasions this season. He recalled one game in particular when Martinez was at Fenway when Doubront was pitching. Doubront struggled that day and Martinez spoke with him afterward.
“He told me, ‘Hey, that happens. That’s going to happen your whole career and you have to figure out how to make that better. You’re going up and you’ll do better things and you’ll learn how to pitch.’ He told me to just keep working.”
Doubront is planning on spending some time with Martinez this offseason in order to prepare for 2013 and beyond. Doubront has shown he has the ability to compete at this level, but he would like to learn more about the mental approach, something Martinez controlled his entire career.
“I want to get something about what he would do when he struggled or something wasn’t good,” Doubront said. “I want to talk with him more than just one day. That’s my goal.”
Martinez said he would accept Doubront’s invitation to work with him this winter.
“I would love to help him with open arms. I wish I could give him everything I have in here (pointing to his head) so he can use it and put it into play,” Martinez said. “He’s got the makeup. He’s got the demeanor. He can be that guy that you would want as an ace.”