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Friday, April 8, 2011
Red Sox shuffle bullpen

By Joe McDonald
ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- It didn't take long for the struggling Boston Red Sox to make roster moves.

Manager Terry Francona announced Friday afternoon that the club has designated lefty reliever Dennys Reyes for assignment, placed right-hander Matt Albers on the DL with a strained right lat muscle and activated left-handed reliever Felix Doubront and called up righty Alfredo Aceves from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Reyes, who was one of the last pitchers to make the club out of spring training, struggled mightily in four appearances.

"It was obviously a pretty short look," Francona said. "It's hard to have a lefty, when you have one lefty, that wasn't throwing the ball over the plate."

In 1 2/3 innings, Reyes had given up three earned runs, walked two and struck out only one batter.

Francona has made no secret how much he likes Doubront, and believes he'll be a perfect fit in Boston's bullpen. Doubront was shut down during spring training with soreness in his elbow.

"We love Doubront," Francona said. "He wasn't ready to pitch when we left [spring training], and getting Felix here we're very excited about. I know it was a short leash with Dennys, but we need to try to win some games."

Doubront originally was slated to be a starter with Pawtucket, but Francona would rather have the southpaw as a reliever in Boston this season. He made 12 appearances for the Red Sox last season, his first in the majors, starting three.

"I've wanted him to be in the bullpen. I love him in the bullpen this year," Francona said. "I think, eventually, he will be a starter for us, but I was hoping he would be in our bullpen the whole time. I think he fits there very well."

Francona also said that the club has to keep in mind that Doubront has had elbow issues in the past when deciding how much to use him.

"That's not an easy thing to do, but this kid can pitch a little bit," the manager said. "He doesn't back off, and the one thing we've always loved is the first hitter he always faces, he's ready to compete and throw strikes."

Doubront tossed a brief bullpen session on Thursday in Cleveland, and he told Francona there's no rust and he's ready to go.

Aceves, who bounced between the minors and the Yankees last season, was scratched from his scheduled start Thursday with Pawtucket. Francona explained the reason the club called up the right-hander rather than a lefty is because Aceves pitches well against left-handed hitters.

Southpaw Hideki Okajima will remain in Pawtucket in order to work on some things and is not ready to pitch at the big league level.

"We want him to get settled in a little bit," Francona said.

Albers said he first felt the discomfort Tuesday in Cleveland, and even though it's not bad, the club doesn't want to take any chances.

"It's gotten better the last couple of days, so hopefully it won't be a big issue," Albers said.

Albers was one of the last pitchers to make the team out of camp and he said it's a little disappointing to deal with an injury so early in the season.

"Definitely," he said. "I've never dealt with anything like this before, so it kind of came out of nowhere. The way I was feeling I thought it was best to speak up and deal with it now."

Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.