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Monday, March 4, 2013
Takeaways: Sox 5, Rays 1; Doubront's day

By Gordon Edes

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Takeaways from the Fort, where there’s nothing like a surprise visit from Mom to calm the nerves of a pitcher fretting about his left shoulder, and few sights as reassuring as a big man motoring around the bases on a back field with no discernible difficulty.

Felix Doubront’s mother, Nancy, made the trip from Venezuela (a day earlier than expected) to see her son pitch for the first time in a Red Sox uniform. She had come once before, in 2010, Doubront said, but he was hurt at the time.

Felix Doubront
After his first game appearance this spring, Doubront admitted he had been concerned about his shoulder. "I was a little scared to feel something, but everything went well.''
Shoulder discomfort this spring had pushed his schedule back, and some Sox officials had expressed disappointment that Doubront had not reported in camp in better shape. Pedro Martinez, who chatted with Doubront early in camp, had some pointed words on the subject.

“He has plenty of time to get in shape," Martinez said. “I think he’s going to do it right. I think if he does put emphasis on the things he’s going to do, he’s going to do it exactly the way he should. I wouldn’t panic that much on that, but at the same time, you have to hold him accountable to go and do his work every day.”

on Monday, Doubront took the hill for the first time this spring, with some admitted anxiety about the shoulder.

“I was a little bit [concerned] today," he said during Boston’s 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. “Every pitch I was focused more [on the shoulder]. I was a little scared to feel something, but everything went well."

Doubront managed to record five outs before being lifted in the second inning by manager John Farrell, having thrown 43 pitches, 23 for strikes.

The real test, Doubront said, will come before he has breakfast with Mom on Tuesday morning.

“As soon as I wake up, I will raise my arm, lift my arm to see how it feels," he said. “If it feels good, I’m going to let the guys know and get more work in. Hopefully, everything will be OK."

He firmly let it be known that he doesn’t think his conditioning should remain an issue, and that he is “100 percent sure” he has time to be ready for the start of the regular season.

“I’m good now," he said. “I feel real good. Healthy. That’s all that matters now."

Here were the keys Farrell was focused on for Doubront’s first time out.

“See the overall tempo of the game, the shape to his pitches, which I thought were defined, when you look at his fastball, his breaking ball, as well as a couple of changeups he threw. You’d like to see him get through a couple innings in his first outing, but the fact is he got up and down twice, no physical issues, first start for him.’’

Meanwhile, the big man in question, David Ortiz, did some base-running under the watchful eye of Sox brass Monday, the third time he’d done so this spring. Ortiz experienced some stiffness on Saturday that he found worrisome, and his next forays around the bases were pushed back a day. He said he’ll let the Sox know when he feels ready to play in a game, maybe sometime this week, but it’s the aftermath of the activity in which he has felt discomfort, so the Sox will have a better idea Tuesday.

“Very aggressive," Farrell said after viewing Ortiz. “With each trip around the bases, he ran with a little more intensity. I know he came out of it feeling good about himself and I’m sure tomorrow will be another base-running drill that will be less intense and probably not as much volume, but I thought today was a very encouraging day for him."

Other takeaways worth noting:

* Shortstop Jose Iglesias had a couple of doubles in two at-bats. “Aggressive swings, solid contact, looks confident," Farrell said.

* Daniel Bard worked on adjusting his stride in a simulated game. He will test it out Thursday in a game, which will be a better barometer of progress than Monday’s side work. Farrell said he was encouraged by what he saw, and Bard told reporters he felt more like “the old me."

* Lyle Overbay had his second triple of spring, one he sliced into the right-field corner.

* The Sox continue to give Mitch Maier a long look in center field as he tries to win a spot as a backup outfielder.

* Second baseman Brock Holt sprinted into foul territory in the first inning to make a nice running catch.

* The win went to former Boston College pitcher Terry Doyle, who threw 2 1/3 innings, allowing a run on three hits and a walk while whiffing one.