At the end of the 2011 season, Felix Doubront was reeling
from an injury-plagued campaign.
Groin and hamstring strains, as well as elbow tightness, sidetracked the
pitcher's ascension to the majors. Upon completing that Triple-A season,
Doubront made it a priority to sharpen up his physique in order to enjoy an
injury-free 2012 season.
One year later, Doubront accomplished his mission. Despite
one trip to the disabled list in August -- which was more for rest than injury
-- Doubront compiled an 11-10 record with a 4.86 ERA and 167 strikeouts through
a career-high 161 innings.
"That was one of my goals," Doubront told NESN.com
in Spanish. "I wanted to work hard to have a successful season without
injury. It was a tough year, but it was very positive in the sense that I was
able to finish on a strong note and do so healthy. That was one of my
It was one of many objectives that Doubront achieved.
Entering spring training, the lefty sensed the pressure to make the Red Sox
roster, especially since he didn't have any minor league options remaining on
Amid the circumstances, Doubront dazzled en route to earning
a spot in Boston's rotation. During the first three months of the season, the
24-year-old was arguably the team's best pitcher, having tallied an 8-3 record
and 4.31 ERA by June 20.
But in August and the first parts of September, Doubront
regressed, failing to advance past the fifth inning in five straight
starts. At one point, the Red Sox contemplated shutting him down for the
season, thinking he'd hit the rookie wall.
In a meeting with then-Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine,
Doubront expressed his desire to continue pitching -- and correct his mistakes. Fortunately for the southpaw, Valentine gave him a chance, and he rewarded his manager for it by logging four
straight quality starts to finish the year.
"I tried to do some things that, honestly, I was doing
before, but got away from," Doubront said, specifically saying he wanted
to work faster on the mound and become more efficient with pitches.
"The last few starts were very strong for me and I felt
great about my performance. I just tried to simplify it and pitch -- pitch,
pitch, pitch and just get quick outs. Everything I put into those five days of
training leading up to each of my starts was positive and you could see that
through the results."
In each of his last two starts, Doubront tallied double-digit
strikeouts, fanning 11 and 10 batters, respectively. It punctuated a banner
year for Doubront, one that started with a slew of question marks surrounding his
health and future with the organization.
"I took something from each start and it was a positive
experience looking back," Doubront said. "I had my ups and downs ... but
I'm glad I got to show everyone who Felix Doubront really is."
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