Doubront's change in mindset leads to roster spot
Red Sox take 14 position players as they face Rays in American League Division Series
BOSTON -- Initially, Felix Doubront didn't sound particularly excited about transitioning to the bullpen for the postseason. But after several conversations with Doubront in recent days, manager John Farrell was confident the lefty had bought in enough to be in a position to help the Red Sox in the American League Division Series.
"That sit-down with him was critical in terms of accepting of the role and understanding there was going to be a need in change of routine," said Farrell. "I thought the first inning in Baltimore was encouraging, and yet what needed to be further clarified is that he needed to be ready to pitch everywhere from one hitter to four innings. To remain open-ended and open-minded and just go pitch to the best of your ability until we take the ball out of your hand."
The Red Sox announced their roster about four hours before game time on Friday. As expected, they went with 14 position players and 11 pitchers.
The catchers are Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ross. The infield is Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, Stephen Drew, Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts. David Ortiz is the designated hitter. The outfielders are Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes, Mike Carp and Quintin Berry.
With lefty Matt Moore starting, Gomes got the nod over Nava in left field. Berry essentially won the final spot on the bench because of his speed. He has never been caught stealing in 26 attempts, two of which came for the Tigers in last year's postseason.
Beyond the four pitchers (Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy ) who will start in this series, the Sox have seven relievers. Closer Koji Uehara will be complemented by right-handers Junichi Tazawa, Brandon Workman and Ryan Dempster. Doubront is the third lefty, joining Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales.
In the end, Doubront beat out veteran lefty reliever Matt Thornton.
"We looked at Felix's ability to give us multiple innings," said Farrell. "If we were to get in a situation where it was a lengthy rain delay and we need multiple innings to start back up. ...It was more the ability to go multiple innings and a guy who has had a very good year for us."
When Doubront is on his game, his stuff can be nasty. For the second straight season, fatigue seemed to set in and he struggled in his starts down the stretch.
The Red Sox have challenged him to alter his offseason routine to avoid that happening next year.