FORT MYERS, Fla. — Lefthander Felix Doubront struggled almost from the start of his outing Sunday against the Rays, on the way to a 9-2 Red Sox loss. Doubront went 4⅓ innings, giving up eight runs on 10 hits, including a home run and two walks, with six strikeouts and a balk.
With a fifth start remaining before the regular season, Doubront is trending in the wrong direction. In his first two outings, he pitched a combined six scoreless innings against the Orioles and Braves, giving up three hits, with no walks and six strikeouts. In his last two, facing the Yankees and Rays, he has gone a combined eight innings, giving up 15 runs on 20 hits, with five walks, eight strikeouts, and a home run.
He now has a spring training record of 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA.
He needed 88 pitches (57 strikes) to get through his outing Sunday, including 44 in the first two innings, when he faced 12 batters, giving up four runs. He struck out Will Myers looking to end the second and appeared to settle down after that. Including Myers, he struck four of the next eight batters. But he ran into trouble again in the fifth, giving up four runs, including a three-run homer to Matt Joyce, who was returning to the Rays lineup after missing three games with a stiff neck. The home run ended Doubront’s outing.
“I thought today he had better life to his stuff overall,” said manager John Farrell. “He ended pulling some balls back across the plate. But I think considering the way you evaluate his stuff last time against the Yankees compared to today, improved, and I think he’s coming through that dead-arm period and looking forward to his next outing where we’ll look to see him put everything back together, location and the quality of stuff.”
Doubront, who made some changes to his delivery over the winter, said he is not concerned about his mechanics.
“They’re good, and my arm feels great,” he said. “Mechanics was good, just left the ball a little bit behind the release point. Try to make that work, but like I said it’s nothing to worry about, just keep working and do better next time.”
Doubront said he is not frustrated by his recent outings. Before his next outing, which would be Friday at the Twins, he intends to work on his delivery.
“Just repeating my delivery,” he said. “Keep the ball down and the simple stuff that you have to make the adjustment and try to hit that spot every time. Something simple.”
Scare for Moore
There was a scary scene at the end of the fourth inning. Rays starter Matt Moore got his hand up just in time to deflect a liner from Xander Bogaerts that appeared on target for the lefthander’s head. Moore was able to make the play, retiring Bogaerts. But it also ended Moore’s outing. A few minutes later, he was driven off the field in a cart, sitting up.
The Rays later announced Moore sustained a laceration on his lip and received a couple of stitches but did not have concussion symptoms. He will continue to be monitored and will undergo X-rays Monday to make sure there are no fractures in his jaw or broken roots in his teeth. Moore said his jaw below his right ear was sore from the impact.
Moore was in the Rays dugout June 15 when teammate Alex Cobb was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Eric Hosmer. Moore considered himself fortunate his injury isn’t worse.
“Extremely fortunate,” Moore said. “Hitters get hit with the ball all the time. I’m going to get hit in the body with comebackers. My mouth should heal up pretty quickly and see where we’re at whenever it heals up. It’s definitely something you’re going to try and put in the back of your mind as fast as possible.”
Bogaerts was relieved to hear that Moore’s injury did not appear serious.
“Oh, man, that’s good,” Bogaerts said.
David Ortiz went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts. He is batting .057 this season, going 2 for 35 with 12 strikeouts. After the game, he said his swing is “fine.” Asked if he was frustrated, he replied: “Me? No. spring training doesn’t mean [expletive] to me.” . . . Moore and righthanders Brandon Gomes and Juan Carlos Oviedo combined to hold the Sox hitless into the seventh inning before Bogaerts’s one-out single . . . Grady Sizemore played the full game, starting in center field and leading off, going 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. Originally, it was going to be the first of three consecutive days for him. After the game, Farrell said Sizemore’s schedule is being adjusted. He will be off Monday before playing Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. He will take Friday off and play Saturday in the final spring training game. Sizemore has not played on three consecutive days since playing in four games July 14-17, 2011 . . . The Sox made another round of roster moves. Catcher Dan Butler, who is on the 40-man roster, was optioned to Triple A Pawtucket. Pitchers John Ely, Dalier Hinojosa, and Rich Hill, all non-roster invitees, were reassigned to minor league camp. Lefthanded pitcher Jose Mijares was released. The Sox now have 35 players in camp, 30 on the 40-man roster and five non-roster invitees.
Breslow a go
Lefthander Craig Breslow will pitch in a minor league game Monday. It will be his first appearance in a game this spring, as a precaution after last season’s increased workload. Because he is not pitching in a major league game, the Red Sox retain the ability to backdate a DL stay for him, if necessary . . . Righthander Jake Peavy is scheduled to start Monday. Instead of traveling to Sarasota to face the Orioles, though, he will pitch in a minor league game at the complex. The Sox are scheduled to host the Orioles’ Single A teams. Jon Lester will do the same Wednesday when the Sox host an Orioles split-squad team at Fenway South. He will start in a minor league game, when the Sox are scheduled to host the Twins’ Single A teams. Although it still has not been officially announced, Lester is on schedule to start Opening Day in Baltimore . . . Asked if the Sox were still looking for roster additions, Farrell replied: “I like the team we have. I think we have a very good team. And yet [general manager] Ben [Cherington] will never rest on ways that could upgrade the roster, but my thought is we’re heading into Monday’s opener with the guys that are here in camp.”