TORONTO — Felix Doubront, the No. 3 starter to start the season, has become the forgotten man of the Red Sox bullpen, sentenced to the amorphous role of long reliever.
The 26-year-old lefthander is starting to wonder if he might be better off with another team.
“I’m doing my work and trying to stay sharp. My mind is positive but this sucks,” Doubront said Monday before the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays, 14-1.
“I just want to pitch. If it’s here or somewhere else, I just want to pitch. I need an opportunity if it’s another team or this team.”
Doubront pitched a scoreless eighth inning in the game, his first appearance since July 7. Since making his last start on June 20, Doubront has appeared in four of the 25 games the Sox have played.
“We have opportunities. I guess I’m just hoping for opportunities to get in games. It’s not happening right now,” Doubront said.
Doubront put himself in this position, going 2-4 with a 5.19 earned run average over 10 starts. He was on the disabled list from May 21 to June 20 with what the team said was a shoulder strain. Doubront made one start after returning then was sent to the bullpen.
Manager John Farrell said it’s a matter of circumstance.
“We’ve had starters work deep in games,” he said. “Unfortunately for some guys, they haven’t had a whole lot of opportunity. That time between appearances becomes greater.”
Because lefty Andrew Miller has been so successful as a set-up man, Doubront isn’t needed in late innings or high leverage situations.
“We’ve got to find spots to get him some work and keep him fresh,” Farrell said.
Doubront was 22-16 with a 4.59 ERA as a starter from 2012-13. He still believes he can succeed in that role.
“I’m a starter. I know I’m a starter. I need to show [Farrell] what I am capable of,” he said. “This is what’s happening right now. I have to suck it up and wait.’’
Shane Victorino, who came off the disabled list Saturday, was out of the lineup. Farrell said Victorino would play four days out of every five but that could be adjusted because of the turf.
“He’s come out of the last few days feeling very good,” Farrell said. “We need to be cautious when we have to.”
“He’s pitched much better than the record reflects. In his case, you kind of put that aside,” Farrell said. “He’s worked deep into games.”
During the All-Star Game last week, Uehara discussed slider grips with Darvish and is considering using the pitch. Uehara threw a slider often when he was a starter in Japan but has been primarily a fastball/splitter pitcher since moving to the bullpen in the majors.
The team’s top overall pick, infielder Michael Chavis, was 2 of 31 with 12 strikeouts in his first nine games in the Gulf Coast League. Chavis was the 26th overall selection.
The top pick who returned to school was catcher Ian Rice, the 21st-round selection. Rice, who is hitting .279 for Cotuit in the Cape Cod League, will attend Houston.
Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.