NEW YORK — Felix Doubront was the No. 3 starter when the Red Sox broke spring training and opened the season in Baltimore. Now the lefthander has been dropped into the bullpen and isn’t happy about it.
“I see myself as a starter,” said Doubront, who got the word from manager John Farrell on Friday. “Right now that’s the only spot for me and I’m going to take it. I’d rather be here than in the minor leagues. I’ll take it and figure it out and do my job.”
Doubront didn’t hesitate when asked if he was disappointed.
“Yeah. Yeah, I am,” he said. “Disappointed and just that.”
The 26-year-old Doubront is 2-4 with a 4.99 earned run average. He had a 5.19 ERA in 10 starts before pitching two scoreless innings of relief against Seattle on Tuesday. The Sox said at the time Doubront would return to the rotation but changed that plan after dropping lefthander Chris Capuano off the roster on Wednesday.
Doubront was on the disabled list from May 21 to June 20 with a shoulder strain. He allowed three runs on two hits and four walks over only 4⅓ innings in his first start back.
Farrell was blunt when asked what Doubront could do to regain his old job.
“There’s a way to get back in the rotation and that’s pitch your way back into it,” he said.
Doubront said he was content being with the Red Sox and would focus on pitching well in relief.
“Just try to get outs in that position,” he said. “There is nothing I can do.”
With Doubront banished to the bullpen, the Red Sox created space in the rotation for Brandon Workman, who started against the Yankees in Friday night’s 6-0 loss and allowed four runs in 6⅔ innings .
Now they seem intent on finding a spot for Rubby De La Rosa.
De La Rosa is 2-2 with a 2.51 ERA in five starts but has not pitched since last Saturday in Oakland.
Farrell said that “right now” the Red Sox are planning to start Jake Peavy, Clay Buchholz, and Workman in the series against the Chicago Cubs that starts on Monday.
“That puts Rubby maybe in a little bit different situation than we discussed in the last couple of days,” Farrell said. “But, still, nothing else to follow up with Rubby’s situation as of right now.”
The Red Sox presumably haven’t kept De La Rosa in the majors for six days and played with a short bench for no purpose.
“There are reasons for it,” Farrell said.
Here’s one: Peavy is 1-6 with a 4.93 ERA and the Red Sox would be open to trading him according to major league sources. The other alternative would be placing Peavy on the disabled list.
De La Rosa has continued to prepare as a starter and the Red Sox, for the moment, have no intention to use him in relief.
Aces on deck
Jon Lester (8-7, 3.14) will face Masahiro Tanaka (11-2, 2.11) on Saturday.
Tanaka faced the Red Sox on April 22 at Fenway and allowed two runs over 7⅓ innings in a 9-3 Yankees victory. David Ortiz and Mike Napoli homered off him in that game.
Tanaka is 10-1 with a 1.84 ERA the first time he faces teams. In his second time against the same team, he is 1-2 with a 3.32 ERA in three starts.
“Any time you have first-hand experience it’s going to give you a little bit more of a reference point,” Farrell said. “He was very good against us with the exception of a couple of at-bats where we hit a couple of solo home runs against him at Fenway.
“Still, he goes around the league a couple of times and he’s still been very successful. We know he’s going to be heavy with his split-finger at times. Has been a dominant pitcher in his first season here.”
Righthander Ryan Dempster, who is on the restricted list this season and working for MLB Network, was in uniform before the game and stretched with his former Red Sox teammates. Dempster said he had no regrets about stepping away from the game. The 37-year-old is unlikely to pitch again . . . Outfielder Bo Greenwell, the son of former Red Sox All-Star Mike Greenwell, was released from the Double A Portland roster. Greenwell hit .235 over 60 games at three levels but was caught in a roster crunch when the Red Sox added veteran outfielder Andres Torres to the Pawtucket roster and dropped Shannon Wilkerson to Portland . . . The Yankees had a moment of silence before the game in memory of 28-year-old Jack Lanzillotti, the Red Sox productions staffer who died Saturday when struck by a car while walking with his girlfriend in the Back Bay. Jessica Campbell, 28, also died. Lanzillotti’s funeral was Friday in his hometown of Shrewsbury.