FORT MYERS, Fla. — Pedro Martinez has been assigned to two players in spring training in his new role as special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington — Rubby De La Rosa and Felix Doubront.
De La Rosa, 23, acquired from the Dodgers Aug. 25, idolized Martinez growing up in the Dominican Republic. Martinez’s bigger role is with Doubront, 25, the team’s fourth starter who the Red Sox hoped would become a 200-inning, 15-game winner. Doubront came to camp overweight and with a sore arm.
Martinez is going to be around to offer support — and a kick in the pants.
“[Doubront’s] so young and so full of talent that sometimes you take for granted the opportunity we’re given,” Martinez said. “But the same way it comes, the same way it could go. All it takes is a bad injury and you’re out of baseball. And the only thing that prevents injuries is hard work.
“I believe he just doesn’t know. He hasn’t been taught that he’s going to be held accountable for his performance out there and the way he looks and that this is really a serious business. I think it takes a little while to get him mentally prepared to understand the responsibility that he has on top of his shoulders with the whole Boston community and the team.
“Nowadays these pitchers come up so young, so talented that they don’t realize how much they’re going to be counted on. I think Doubront is a good example. I think he needs to know that he’s really important to this team, to the organization, to the community, to Boston, and that they’re counting on him to be one of the big men. At the same time, he’s still a young kid trying to develop and he’s already in the big leagues trying to perform.
“You have to take that into consideration and be patient with him, and at the same time guide him through it. I think I can be a good asset to him to learn about some of the things that he has to do.”
Asked if he would be tough on Doubront, Martinez said, “Baseball’s not easy. It wasn’t easy for me. You have to expect it to be tough. One thing I’m going to be with him, just like I always was with you guys, I’m going to be straightforward and I’m going to say it the way it is. Point blank, the way it is. If he wants to hear it or if he doesn’t, that’s OK. I just know that I want the best for him and I want the best for the organization and I would love to help. I can’t handle the fact that I have all this knowledge and not give it away. I would love to give it away. And I hope he sees me as a good example of hard work and dedication and will to do things.
“Being out of shape a little bit is normal, probably not as much as before. But being out of shape a little bit in spring training, this is the only place where you can be a little bit out of shape. You’re here to get in shape. So he has plenty of time to get in shape. I think he’s going to do it right. So I wouldn’t panic that much on that. At the same time, you have to hold him accountable to go and do his work every day.”
Alfredo Aceves seemed to be on his best behavior a day after he lobbed some pitches in batting practice and was scolded by pitching coach Juan Nieves and manager John Farrell. Aceves’s agent, Tom O’Connell, said the issue was addressed with Cherington and that the Red Sox want Aceves around. O’Connell also represents first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp, who was designated for assignment by the Mariners and can become a free agent after Thursday. Carp, a lefthanded hitter, could draw interest from the Red Sox . . . Daniel Nava continues to work at first base and the outfield. “I’ve enjoyed it,” Nava said. “I played first in junior college and things are starting to come back to me. I’m getting more comfortable with my footwork and the throw.”
Ciriaco has recovered
Pedro Ciriaco said he’s 100 percent after offseason shoulder injury curtailed his winter league playing time. Ciriaco was supposed to start playing the outfield in an effort to become the Sox’ super-utility player. “I’m going to get some time in the outfield soon,” he said. Ciriaco was one of the few bright spots of the 2012 season after taking over for the injured Will Middlebrooks at third . . . Craig Breslow hasn’t responded to soreness in his throwing shoulder as quickly as hoped. “Still getting treatment, probably not responding as fast as we anticipated,’’ Farrell said. “The MRI that he underwent didn’t show any significant changes. Still trying to get that inflammation out of there.” . . . Farrell said Clay Buchholz threw “a successful bullpen today. Threw all of his pitches. No restrictions. Still not cleared for full baseball activity, but his mound session was good and puts him in line on Wednesday to face live hitters in batting practice.” Buchholz is recovering from a hamstring injury . . . Farrell was asked whether he could name an Opening Day starter and said, “Not today. We’ve got a few other things to take care of before we get to that.” . . . Mike Napoli was hit 100 ground balls from third base coach Brian Butterfield. “As he gains comfort with a number of different movements he’s going to be asked to do, we’ve got a menu of things set up already tomorrow that will start to lead in to throws on the front end of a double play and [being] more active around the bag, some picks in the dirt,’’ Farrell said. “There’s a progression that we’ll go through, but he looks pretty smooth and fluid at first.”Nick Cafardo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.